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EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS .
PH. of the Department q$ Language and Literature Case Institute of Technology Head FREDERICK G. .Effective betters tn^&ustness BY ROBERT Professor and L. SHURTER. INC. NICHOLS Consulting Editor NEW YORK : TORONTO McGRAW-HILL BOOK COMPANY.D.
Inc. This book. . by the McGraw-Hill Book Company. or parts thereof. may not be reproduced in any form without permission of the publishers. All rights reserved. 1948.EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS Copyright. Printed in the United States of America.
It grew out of a conviction that there infeqjfed to present the fundamental principles types of biismesS letters and to assist the student need for a comparatively brief text whose scope would be halfway between the sketchy "handbook" with its "Do's" and "DonYs" in boldface type and the encyclopedic volumes of six or seven hundred pages covering every conceivable problem in business correspondence. This textbook attempts to provide that knowledge. First. the English of business. Second. there is no mention in these pages of business English. and breaking up the English lan- guage into separate compartments is merely a delusion* What is needed is a knowledge of the purposes. it seems rather is say that the business letter one of the most widely used forms of writing in the twentrite to . it seems is a best to outline the beliefs that color its tone. There is no escaping the inexorable connection between clear thinking and clear writing. There are only good English well adapted to its purpose and occasion and poor English. and methods most acceptable in correspondence. In fairness to readers or to students of this textbook. engineering. and eventually if the trend goes to its logical conclusion mortician's English finds no sympathy in these pages. and other fields. The person who can write good English will soon find that the same basic principles of writing apply in business. the point of view that results in the production of books on engineering English. forms.Preface This book is of the major or correspondent in learning these principles by numerous examples and exercises.
SHURTER . complete with the scholarly paraphernalia of footnotes and bibliographies and tieth century. second. ROBERT L. the author azine of The Wolfe Envelope Company wishes to express his appreciation. furthermore. Margaret C. types of writing as the research paper. paradoxically our schools and colleges devote more time to such enough. For that reason. in this book. for his assistance in proofreading. cits. and creative ability as any other form of writing. for her great help in preparing the manuscript and to David M. Garretson. publishers of the Office Administra- For kind permission to reprint materials is author tion and Better Letter Bulletin. than to more widely used forms of writing. this book is colored by the conviction that learning to write good business letters is a highly important aspect of a student's education and. to Letters. to the Dartnell Corporation of Chicago. for.. Rein. good organization. and to its editor. the mag- of Cleveland. Finally. to Mrs. and op. knee-deep in ibids. the indebted chiefly to two sources: first.vl PREFACE Yet that fact needs emphasis. that the letter offers as much opportunity for originality. but for will find occasion to write a research paper there are certainly a thousand who will be required to pro- every person who duce effective business letters. Jack Lang. The research paper has its place. H.
Contents PREFACE EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION v ix i INTRODUCTION I II What Is an Effective Letter? The Form of the Letter Business Jargon 3 17 III 47 IV Making Letters Easy to Read 58 V VI VII VIII Inquiries. Orders 74 Claim and Adjustment Letters Credit Letters Collection Letters Sales Letters 94 1 1 5 137 163 IX X The INDEX Application Letter 188 22 1 vi i . Answers to Inquiries.
with sufficient practice in their application to fix . application. and even a pages will convince the open-minded its competent use will be substantial. and of is 1 every other kind. The author's answer to this problem is that it not necessary to teach the writing of all kinds of departmental letters as a part of a general business correspondence course. It further is assumed that these basic principles can be taught effectively without the utilization of every conceivable kind of business letter. The book speaks for itself. If these casual examination of its No instructor that results of principles are mastered. It is enough to teach the fundamental principles of a good letter and to require much practice in writing such letters. In it the author adheres to his main purpose throughout the teaching of fundamental principles.Editor's Introduction In many respects this treatment of a most important sub- extended editorial introduction is necessary ject is unique. credit. a text that contains in concentrated form all the es- sentials of effective letter writing. to point out this fact. production. has long been a major problem in giving this course. furnish the necessary specialized background for teaching the writing of departmental letters ad- To without vertising. good letters can be written. The author proceeds on the assumption that certain fundamental principles cover all business letter writing. sales. Selling letters as such are not stressed. etc. serious encroachment on the time available for the course in business letter writing. Here is is taught effectively. but how to apply fundamental principles in the writing of such letters.
NICHOLS . But too many authors hesitate to give this is There conviction of this its proper emphasis in their textbooks. FREDERICK G. new the student to apply them more or less business situations as they arise from day general agreement that business "jargon" is not essential in business letter writing. It is It The book a fine example of worthy of careful study. The author teaches English as well as letter writing but without shifting the emphasis from the latter to the former. user of this text is urged not to be Finally. is surely will leave its mark on the thoughtful student. really has so. Elimination of ex- traneous matter through concentration on the essentials of good letter writing accounts for the fact that it carries no unnecessary pages. book done He author's style throughout the the one he advocates for letters. that good business English is good anywhere.X EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION in them mind and equip automatically in to day. the prospective unfavorably impressed by its modest size.
EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS .
when the average businessman sits down to write a letter he completely changes his personality. Regarding the matter and due to the fact That up until now your order we've lacked. "urns" and "ahs. He fusses and fumes. Instead of being friendly and cheerful. the following article by Gordon Cobbledick. of Chicago has embarked upon an enterprise so worthy as to merit the support and encouragement of all the English-speaking. And herewith enclose the prices we quoted. This style of composition is known as "goozling. using as a starting point the revolutionary thesis that any- thing which needs saying in commerce can be said in words and phrases in common use among ordinary people. and more especially the Englishwriting. Attached please find as per your request The samples you wanted. By way of introduction. We have it before us. and we would suggest. We And beg hope you will not delay it unduly. peoples.Introduction Students who have had no business experience are inclined to be skeptical of the statement that the quality of many of the letters produced in the modern business world is poor. to remain yours very truly. It purposes to teach businessmen the art of writing business letters. According to the release. . columnist of the Cleveland Plain Dealer." then finally comes out with something like this : We beg to advise and wish to state That yours has arrived of recent date. therefore. he usually becomes as cold as an oyster and as formal as the king's butler." and anyone who has had occasion to carry on any considerable amount of business correspondence is aware that many executives who dictate America's business letters are confirmed goozlers. underscores the need for improvement in letter writing: A publicity release discloses that the Dartnell Corp. its contents noted.
J . Therefore be advised and informed that we expect a check at once and immediately. by a number of illustrations from actual business letters used in this book.2 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS Nor has this strange variety of English by a process of evolution rooted in necessity. and that they reduce the aspirin bill of secretaries and typists. We beg to remain sition By way of contrast. the crusading corporation submits a letter similar it in purpose which. the Dartnell people base their attack on Sir: "Dear Can you give us the name " We may the assertion that letters cost money (they estimate a half million dollars a day in the United States) and that short. the author hopes. as did "yours of even date" and "yours of the igth inst. We take the po- and are most convinced that you have been unfair and unjust. the Dartnell Corp." In conjunction with its assault on goozling. following the game party that fills in the top of the board you that if you follow these instructions you first will have every satisfaction. They might have added that they also cost less money to read and comprehend. says. And it quotes: "Dear Sir: refuse and decline to write We more letters. has launched a campaign against an interesting kind of double talk peculiar to business correspondence. brought from a reluctant debtor a check by of a good attorney in your return mail: town? have to sue you. where teachers begged to advise that it gave a businesslike tone to our letters. friendly letters cost less money and build more good will than the long and stilted kind. We beg to remain " That there is a large amount of really excellent writing in modern business is demonstrated. We demand and insist that you send us this check with no further " cost or expense. I come about through accident or seem to remember being taught the "enclosed please find" brand of writing in school. It quotes as a horrible example a letter correspondent in a mail-order house to a farmer's wife who had bought a set of chess men and asked for instruction in their use "Dear Madam: In regard to your letter I would suggest that you take sent by a girl : one chess and move it from the bottom through to the finer points. Cordially Probably on the theory that an appeal to the literary conscience of businessmen would get them nowhere. The corporation offices to write also suggests that businessmen train the people in their informative letters. assure The We to the center. wins the game.
such as the collecting of a bill. the collection letter . Any type of letter can be judged in terms of how successfully it gains agreement from the reader. whether the desired result is of immediate importance. the business letter may be defined as a wessage that attempts to influence its recipient to take some action or attitude desired by the sender. In other words. or whether it is an intangible attitude like good will. The letters of stereotyped essentially "thought-less. Too much of the communication in is great deal of it is and therefore a and unoriginal. before he writes any letter. Anyone who hopes What am I 2. like the response of a muscle to a nerve impulse. this attempt at agreement should always be part of the letter. the correspondent tries to get his reader to agree with him. every kind of writing must be preceded by thought and analysis. to write effectively in business should first have a general understanding of what the business letter is. The successful sales message gets its reader to is agree that a product or service worth buying. he should think specifically about answering the following questions: 1.CHAPTER I What To modern business Is an Effective Letter? be effective. This failure to think about the fundamental aspects of a letter situation results inevitably in muddled expression or vague and inadequate phraseology. and then. How can I trying to accomplish in this letter? best accomplish this purpose? Considered in its most fundamental terms." many correspondents are almost automatic.
Dear Mr. are sorry that we cannot fill your order of November 5 for 12 dozen shirts to retail at $2. he does not think clearly about his If. we shall be glad to serve you. have found that men are demanding a shirt that will wear longer and look better than those that can be made to sell at $2. his letter will be ineffectual.25. i. In the event that you need any of these. dealing with the same Which Dear Sir: message gives evidence of careful thought? writer has made up his mind about what he wants his accomplish? Which letter to We men's them. yet time and again business letters reveal the writer's lack of thought about the action or attitude the letter is de- signed to prompt. . the application letter attempts to win agreement from the prospective employer that the applicant is well qualified to get the job for which he applies. purpose. Consider the following two situation.25. Wiley: We regret We that we cannot fill your order of November 5 for 1 2 dozen men's shirts to retail at $2. letters. "What am I trying to accomplish in this letbefore writing.4 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS payment of his to be effective should convince the debtor that bill is the wisest policy. Yours truly. This necessity for thinking before writing would seem so obvious as to require no business letter ter?" emphasis.25 because we are no longer manufacturing We have gone into production of more expensive shirts for men. What Am I Trying to Accomplish in This Letter? If the above definition of the letter is correct and there is no other way of explaining its purposethe first question to be answered by anyone confronted with the task of writing a is.
the dealer. The first writer shows not the slightest ting indication of thinking in advance about what his letter ought to do. you must form a clear-cut idea of exactly what you in the The fundamental want your 2. Its success comes from thought and analysis. These shirts will give you. how best to do it. How Can I Best Accomplish This Purpose? Having determined what he wants his letter to do. for him it is not enough merely to refuse the order for $2. What are you trying to do in your letter? First of all. the writer's next problem is. a larger margin of profit they will enable you to take advantage of our national advertising campaign which features "The Monitor". The enclosed will sign post card lists the wholesale prices for "The Monitor. preshrunk shirt to sell at $3. His is the automatic. What or characteristics will make the letter most effectechnique tive as a message to influence its reader to do what the writer . they will help to convince your customers that your store carries quality mer.25 shirts. chandise." If and mail it today. the thought-less response. he has considered the question." a genuine broadcloth. difference between these two letters lies and analysis by the correspondent before putthought a word on paper. A routine brain working in routine fashion simply stops with the refusal of the order. if you hope to write a message that does influence the reader toward some desired action. His letter's task is to sell higher priced shirts.50. we have designed "The Monitor. and everything in it after the first paragraph is directed toward that purpose. a supply of these high-quality shirts will you reach you within a week to bring you added profit and satisfied customers. letter to accomplish. "What am I trying to do in this letter?" very specifically. obviously.WHAT In order to meet this IS AN EFFECTIVE LETTER? 5 demand. The second writer has analyzed what he wants his letter to do. Sincerely yours.
friendliessentials of any effec- wants him to do? Certainly. courteous." The letter writer accomplishes his purpose most effectively by adopting the reader's viewpoint. if only because these characteristics help us to persuade others to do what we want them to do. the correct attitude of the letter writer. it should take the reader's point of view. This is putting a low premium indeed upon these personal traits. by is writing not in terms of "how much we should like to have your order. The first requisite of a successful letter is that it should have the you attitude. however difficult. and helpfulness are the minimum tive letter. Actually. you will benefit by increased profit and utility. If as is an individual he THE "YOU ATTITUDE" Much ogy has been written about such subjects as the psycholof selling. he must remember that we can most readily persuade others to do what we want them to by demonstrating that it is to their advantage to do it. or helpful." Human beings must be shown not their just that they should agree but that it is to advantage to agree. which are certain to render it ineffective. he will need no conscious effort to inject them into such not friendly. but where qualities are naturally a part of the correspondent's personality. his letters. there is just one fact that the letter writer must keep constantly in mind. and using psychology in your letters. thou- . Nothing related to business correspondence more important than this point of view.6 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS like courtesy. nevertheless. known usually as the "you attitude. that is. The you attitude can be used to good effect in any letterwriting situation." but of "when you order this merchandise. To the inexperienced correspondent. qualities ness. the you attitude appears ill adapted to such a situation as collecting past-due accounts. his correspondence will probably reflect these undesirable traits.
credit reputation. for a moment. My four years' education in chemical engineering at the University of Michigan and two summers working as chemist's assistant at the Dow Chemical Company should prove to be valuable in the position of junior chemist. you will help to keep your business on that firmest of foundations a sound credit rating. As a businessman. Possibly the first applicant is better qualified than the second. keep in mind the prospective employer's point of view. how this The following paragraph from one may be done. the second applicant puts himself in the personnel . We know that you would not willingly lose this priceless possession for a mere $70. to be a personnel director. you must realize that your most valuable asset is your Without it. Instead of writing about how much he would like a position and how deeply interested he is in this company.WHAT IS AN EFFECTIVE LETTER? 7 sands of collection letters are written daily whose chief effectiveness lies in their argument that it is to the debtor's own advantage to pay such letter shows his bills. Anyone who sees many they lack the application letters knows how sadly Perhaps getting a job is the most difficult job in the world. happened to see your advertisement for a junior chemist in this mornand I should like to have you consider me as an applicant for the position. you cannot long remain in business. the amount of our bill. Imagine yourself.12. By placing your check in the mail today. which you advertised in this morning's Daily News. I am very much interested in working for your company because I have heard of its liberal attitude toward employees. but he gives absolutely no thought to the reader's interests. The sole difference in these paragraphs is the point of view of the writer. but the task could be much simplified if the applicant in his letter or interview would constantly you attitude. Which of the following opening paragraphs would interest you more? I ing's paper.
the better it will be. There is always the temptation to write about what we ourselves are doing or hoping to do. such as pleasure ("A trip through the great West will give you endless hours of sheer delight. The importance of the you than constantly keeping in mind the interests and desires of your reader and designing your letter to appeal to him. it is a good principle person to whom you are writing. It is not merely a matter of phraseology but of attitude. have fun. or enjoyment. He probably will not be in- terested in your you show him that he should be by appealing to his interests. swimming. Think about the ing. economy and the secure We delude ourselves by thinking that everyone is inter- ested in our problems. longer mileage U. The more specific this appeal can be made. glance through the advertising pages of any magazine will like profit. Their appeal is always to the reader's interests. A show how effectively copy writers do this.") or profit ("A small investment in tires now will bring you great knowledge that your family is safe on Firestones. our wishes. Nothing can improve your letter writing more from that viewpoint. "What qualifications have I which would interest this employer?" and he writes com- pletely attitude in letter writing cannot be overemphasized. your letter will be effective because it will have the you attitude. the main objective is that the appeal should be phrased in terms of the reader's interests. pleasure.8 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS director's place. our products.") or utility ("You relax. utility. Point out qualities related to the reader's advantage concrete things appearance. quick-stopping. affairs unless . or in just gazing at the magnificent views spread out before you. If you do that. In letter writto forget yourself. Royal Masters!"). hiking. hours spent in riding. never worry about tire trouble when you equip your car with worldfamous. he asks himself. S.
product man successfully tackled this problem is shown in the following How letter: Dear Mr. retailers A found by experienced corletter sent to dealers or as can use the profit motive an excellent means of adaptation to its readers' interests. doctors. effective economy. Certain ap- peals to various groups have been respondents to be most effective. or the details of construction and mate- by of selecting the right appeal for selling technical products or services to the general public is highly a difficult one. rials. One cannot always know exactly what kind of person the reader is. It involves adapting a highly specialized one salesor service to the general point of view. Letters to men are usually made more efficiency. attractive design. They don't bat worth a hoot. Remember League the three men in the official score cards? lower right-hand corner of the American They don't pitch. Letters sent to engineers. lawyers. or modern styling. over which advertising men and letter writers The problem have labored long.WHAT The you attitude IS is AN EFFECTIVE LETTER? g important also because it automatically eliminates a fault present in too many letters a tone that is too technical or too specialized or otherwise inappropriate for the general reader. a reasoned appeal stressing utility. . or dentists should naturally differ in tone and phraseology from those sent to a cross section of the public. Barnes : Just a brief note to thank you for your courteous attention to story my sales when I called on you last Wednesday. Letters to women may well stress an emotional appeal by discussing a product's beauty. but it is a mistake to assume that he will be interested in highly technical language or specialized nomenclature. in It will be a pleasure to work with you producing literature (letterpress or offset) to sell air conditioners.
Among letters written to special groups. . the following sent is to children urging them to renew subscriptions adopting the proper appeal: successful in Dear Friend : Remember show Well. and since we have already written you once before. "Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! Send in your renewal order to Boys' Life today!" We can guarantee you that it's the best "show" in town when it comes to giving you twelve months of swell fun and entertainment ! necessary to tell you all about the exciting serials and adventure and news pictures and all the other entertaining. Dad took you to and how that fellow at the side "Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! See the best show in town!" we feel just like that fellow at the circus. because you've been enjoying them for a whole year now and you know what's there. and time is getting short for you to get your renewal in. and. We want to holler. the circus hollered. take this letter and show it to Mom or Dad.. I'll be listening for that telephone bell! Sincerely yours. exciting features in every issue. You'll be glad you did when those copies of Boys' Life come along each month! Mom REMEMBER . But golly We do have to tell you that you'll be missing all that swell fun if you don't renew your subscription. I've got a hunch they'll see to it that you have Boys' Life for another year! That sounds like a good idea.. "Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!" Your friend..10 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS But they perform a very useful service coaching. Get to help you fill it out and send it to us TODAY. we're just sending this "hurry-up" message so that you won't be disappointed. doesn't it? or Dad Here's a subscription blank and a postage-free envelope. Tell you what you do you know. NOW It isn't stories ! ! Your subscription expires with the December issue. Our twenty-five years of "coaching" experience is available to aid you in producing literature that will sell your products.
Contrary to the opinion of many letter writersan opinion glaringly reflected in their letters personality does not letters mean peculiarity or freakishness. And I'm going to have a baby soon. If ishness. We have to set the alarm every hour all night long to get us up to turn the pump on and off by hand besides staying home all day to do it. impersonal tone. Your at your best. Notice how to the Square D Company of Detroit. Yours sincerely. the switch here or get this one repaired. Please send us another switch another switch bought the We quickly before everything floats out the cellar windows. direct. puts our fire out! live out in the We pump only last March. Since we country on very low land and depend completely on y6ur switch to keep water out of our cellar. the effective letter should have a third quality. Here's hoping we get that switch quickly or I'll have my baby in the cellar. of course.WHAT IS AN EFFECTIVE LETTER? ir Finally. addressed Gentlemen: We have a Westinghouse Pump with one of your switches on it. reading one of your letters. Rosemary La Reau The a tone of friendly interest or a sense of humor. you can imagine our predicament when I say that without this pump we have four feet of water in our cellar and this. they should be a stranger. unaffected. they reflect definite personalities and avoid a cold. makes its appeal: effectively the following letter. but. your letter has successfully avoided the two extremes of complete impersonality or outlandish freak- should reflect you natural. can gain an impression that you are the sort of person he would like to know. although it is not a year old. cannot get has gone berserk and we are at our wits' end. The letter below is an out- best letters are those that convey standing example of the plished: way in which this may be accom- . an indefinable tone called personality.
James : Referring to your letter of July 16. we much prefer as people who for over eighty years have been helping ideas and schemes in making their grounds THEIR more useful and If attractive. . . letter. c. capable friend working with you. to the actual form and writing of the far. If think before you write and you cannot write a good letter otherwiseyou will formulate clear-cut answers to the following questions before a 1. in the next chapter. that's mostly what and that's somewhat the manner in which we should like to be of assistance to you.12 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS Dear Mr. is What Dear Mr. let Thus we you us summarize this important process of analysis. do what can can I I I want him to do? letter to How How ality) (you adapt my my attitude) reader's interests? like make this letter sound me? (person- EXERCISES wrong with the point of view of the following letters? Has the writer clearly made up his mind about what he wants his letter to do? Has he accomplished his purpose in the most effective way or can you improve on the technique? i. Sincerely yours. and Mrs. we appreciate your need of credit to open your new factory. but we cannot grant it to you. it's like . have been discussing the thinking or the mental attitude that precedes letter writing. arn I 2. Before going on. you will visualize a . Edwards: Although the telephone book to be known simply folks with THEIR calls us landscape architects. How can I best accomplish that purpose? How can show my reader that to I it is trying to accomplish in this letter? his advantage to b. I wonder whether you feel that we could be of service. word is dictated or put on paper: What a.
. My gas furnace has been checked over carefully by my son who is a sophomore in an engineering college. want you to know that our engineering staff We has put the most modern design and best materials into this portable. we know you will want to buy from us on a cash basis profit and we dare not take Since we are now manufactur- and will find some way of doing so. What action or attitude should each of the above letters attempt to produce? 3. Stauffer: to believe We find it difficult failure of our portable radio. We hope to have your cash order soon. 2. Dear Mr. regardless of the weather. Rewrite the letters using the you attitude to influence your reader to take this action. I want some action and smaller bills.WHAT We are operating IS AN EFFECTIVE LETTER? 13 on a very narrow margin of the risk involved in assuming credit losses. your complaint of October 22 regarding the Model X. We is suggest that you take the radio back to your dealer to let him see what wrong. Gentlemen : I can't understand why my gas bill is always so high. All of our other customers report excellent reception of stations much farther away than that. companies like yours take advantage of the public and put in meters that always read the same. my bills are always too high. and such a failure as you report seems incredible. and he says it is very efficient. ing the finest home furnishings at what we can guarantee to be the lowest prices in the country. to receive stations only 40 miles away. Yours truly. Utility Yours truly. I get tired of you big companies squeezing us small customers. Sincerely yours. Yet.
Collins. a prominent industrialist and formerly a member of your organization. As the secretary for your organization. by forwarding your remittance promptly. Mr. I in am so anxious to be New York. you have been authorized by unanimous vote of the membership to secure as speaker for your annual meeting. I am sorry that I cannot send you any information concerning the method of using our photo exposure meter in enlarging. that you will send us your check for $73. and we can pay them only by collecting our own bills. You can help us greatly. New York While I haven't had any experience with the type of work your company does. Write an appropriate letter to Mr. John C. we have bills of our own to meet. I regret that we cannot Alpha College. The first of the year is a time when our obligations are especially heavy. and furthermore.I4 4. therefore. a. own we are . we are merely subcontractors for various parts in the meter. It will be appreciated if you will write direct to our sales office in the future. I can where most of for my college friends are working. Since your group has no funds with which to pay speakers. 6. hope that you we have bills of our soon send us your check for $37. d. write paragraphs incorporating the will you attitude. students that We accept your application for admission to have so many applications from very excellent we cannot accept yours. Collins' services as speaker for your 225 members.19 as soon as hope possible. that I lack of experience. After own to meet. please let 5. b. urging you to send us your remittance. It is expensive for us to send out monthly statements on know make up my We past-due accounts. Criticize the point of same situations with view of the following paragraphs. for that reason. We all. you must obtain without charge Mr. Using the which they deal. If there is I can be of further assistance to you.19. EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS Criticize the point of view to in each of the following paragraphs from effective in influencing the actual letters. c. I should like to Standard Products located in be considered for a position with the New York Company because I particularly want to be City. and. Collins. Rewrite them make them more reader to take the action desired. any way in which me know. a. All such inquiries are handled by the sales department in Chicago.
I am very anxious to work for your company since enjoys a reputation for treating its employees fairly and generously. As vocational guidance or placement official for your school. You will know why we your dealer's. A registration fee of $5 will be used to pay the instructhose tor. to incorporate the tions : Prepare a brief outline or notation of the main points you would use you attitude in letters dealing with the following situa- a. c. you want to obtain information from 50 large companies concerning the possibilities of employment for your graduates. the methods of orientation for new employees. I need employment badly because I incurred a debt of $1. In asking for an adjustment on the overcoat which you purchased from us. We are deferring the whole plan of our new sales program pending the answers to these questionnaires. A letter to be sent to dealers to persuade them to become exclu- . are organizing an evening course in The Great Books (or any other subject you prefer) to be given at your local community center. you seem to lose sight of the fact that. and the starting salary range for recent graduates.WHAT b. I hope you will consider these facts when you examine my qualifications. Since you can realize how e.200 in order to acquire my college education. are so proud of instrument when you hear it at 7. we should be unable to stay in business very long. and we certainly do not expect them to grant such adjustments to us. We developed it in our own laboratories. and we are going to distribute it through our this own exclusive dealers. letter to be sent to your classmates in which you attempt to get them to subscribe to your favorite magazine. d. important this matter is to us. claims. A b. You who return your questionnaire. d. We hope that you will send us the answers we ask for in this questionnaire because this information is of vital importance to us. In addition. The results will be tabulated and sent to all c. Your letter will be sent to 46 persons who expressed an interest in such a course in a preliminary survey. won't you help us by sending your answer today? This new radio is our greatest engineering triumph. IS AN EFFECTIVE LETTER? you I5 I especially hope that will give favorable consideration to this it application. if we granted such We purchase these garments from a wholesale clothing company.
new line of men's or women's to interview a 8. They . to bring in taking the reader's viewpoint in his letters and." They are to question him on the methods he uses possible.X 6 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS sive agents in their territory for a clothing. back several examples of letters he regards as are to make an oral report to the class on their findings. select two members of your group correspondent in your community on the general subject "The Three Most Important Qualities in Business Letters. As a class project. if effective.
and. the salutation. between the salutation and the body paragraphs in the body of the letter.e. the correspondent can choose from several modes which he may use to "clothe" his ideas.. with double spaces between the units (i. although each has numerous modifications. Divisions between the inside address and the salutation. and the paragraphs of the letter are arranged in blocks without indention. The Block Form This is (see the illustration on page 18) a widely used form today. the salutation.. between the inside address. the complimentary close. The open form of punctuation should always accompany the block form (see the illustration on page 26). It takes its name from the fact that the inside address. His choice of letter dress should be appropriate for the type of person or company his letter is to represent.CHAPTER II The Form of the Letter Since there are styles in letter writing as well as in dress. the selection of a suitable garb for his thoughts ranges from conservative to ultramodern. . i. within the inside address and the individual paragraphs). and the body of the letter) and single spacing within the units (i. and between the of the letter are indicated by spacing. In general. and signature is aligned with the left margin so that no time is consumed by indention. The block form offers two definite advantages: it saves stenographic time because each part of the letter except the date.e. there are four styles in use today.
Cummings 347 East Oak Street Council Bluffs.18 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS EXAMPLE OF BLOCK FORM OF LETTER March Mr. Iowa 5. Sincerely yours. offers two distinct advantages: it saves stenographic time and reduces the number of Its wide acceptance at the present margins. It takes its name from the fact that the inside address. I heartily recommend the block form as the most suitable for the needs of your office. Geraldine A. Cummings: This letter illustrates the block form of letter dress. time offers assurance that the letter arranged in block form is correct and modern. the salutation. If you desire your letters to be attractive in appearance. and economical with regard to stenographic time. C. J. which has become one of the most widely used methods of arranging letters. Fisher Correspondence Supervisor GAF:GWC . 1947 Dear Mr. and the paragraphs of the letter itself are arranged in The block form blocks without indention. modern.
THE FORM OF THE LETTER ig EXAMPLE OF INDENTED FORM OF LETTER March 5. it does require more stenographic time than other types of letter arrangement . Dear Mr. its margins and punctuation. Although the indented form is regarded by many correspondents as somewhat conservaBecause of tive. James Parkway. Edwards: The makeup of this letter illustrates the indented form of letter dress. As you will notice. J. and you will notice the punctuation marks at the end of each line of the inside address of this letter. Very truly yours. Jason Edwards. JBJ :mcg Bedford Jones Sales Supervisor . Baltimore. 1947. Mr. panies the indented form. Maryland. each line of the inside address is indented five spaces to the right of the first letter of the line Closed punctuation always accomabove it. 219 St. it is still widely used.
newspapers. it has proved effective and is well liked by our staff of correspondents and secretaries after six years of use. Vanderlyn 6. Vanderlyn: I appreciate your interest in my reasons for recommending the type of letter arrangement which our company uses in its correspondence . and magazines. Robert C. The semiblock form meets all these requirements. Perhaps it is no more than a whim on my part. Maine Dear Mr. furthermore. After careful consideration. open punctuation is modern and efficient. The block arrangement of the inside address appeals to me as symmetrical and economical of secretarial time. I recommended the semiblock form as the most effecThis recommendation tive for our company. 1947 2202 Middlebury Road Winchester. but I prefer to have the paragraphs of the actual message indented as they are in books. was based on my belief that this form combined most of the advantages of the block and the indented forms. Sincerely yours. Porter Correspondence Supervisor . JHP CPA : John H.20 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS EXAMPLE OF SEIV1IBLOCK FORM OF LETTER March Mr.
Mathews 5. You will notice that the effect of this type of letter is to emphasize the first In a carewords of each paragraph. To achieve this result. Very truly yours. fully planned sales message this device can be used to good advantage by headlining the salient facts concerning the product sold. a factor of especial significance in selling by mail. Howard C. Massachusetts Dear Mr. EHD ELM : Edward H. we try to make our sales letters as distinctive as possible. ciently unusual to attract the reader's attention.THE FORM OF THE LETTER 2I EXAMPLE OF HANGING-INDENTION FORM OF LETTER March Mr. Mathews: Since the first impression that the reader forms concerning a letter is of the arrangement of text on the page. 1947 3794 Maple Street West Newton. our company has adopted the hanging-indention form as the standard setup for all sales corWe feel that it is suffirespondence. DuBois Sales Manager .
but in today's typed letters. Because it requires more stenographic time for each letter. Ohio. it letter into logical units. when letters were written by hand. In earlier times. The Indented Form This is (see the illustration on page 19) the most conservative. on page 20) A compromise between the block form and the indented form. retains a system of indentions for is which there now little logical reason. Canton. except that the first word of each para- graph is indented 10 spaces. 2. the indented form is somewhat inefficient. of all forms of letter arrangement. each line of the inside address is indented five spaces to the right of the first letter of the line above it.22 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS its second. It is sometimes used to give an appearance of balance or symmetry by those whose letterheads taper from top to bottom as in the following e^mple. 3. The Blank and Blank Company. the semiblock employs the block form with open punc(see the illustration The Semiblock Form tuation in all parts. This form may appeal to those who like the efficiency of the block form but who also feel that the paragraphs of a . one might even say most oldfashioned. The indented should be noted. The first word of each paragraph is indented five spaces from the left ation margin. with a mark of punctuation at the end of each of the date and the inside address (see page 26). Closed punctuline is used. 15 East Fifth Street. wide acceptance letter at the ance that the arranged in block present time offers assurform is correct and modern. spacing is an effective and easy means of dividing the form. In the indented form. such indentions were the only means of setting off paragraphs.
The Hanging-Indention Form This is (see the illustration on page 2 1 ) the most freakish of the four letter and has not come into wide acceptance except arrangements in sales letters. In this form the block f orrn with open punctuadefinitely tion used in the inside address. 4. from the more normal types of ARRANGEMENT OF THE LETTER ON THE PAGE Whichever letter form is used. double spacing may be used. but every other is line in each paragraph is indented five spaces. balance. but that very difference is a disadvantage for those who want to adopt the more widely accepted forms of letter dress. the correspondent should remember that the first impression of a letter results from the arrangement of text on the page. Lopsided letters. if it is unattractively arranged. it should be and proportion. The arrangement is the most noticeable feature of the letter and can interest or prejudice the reader at a glance. or letters bottoms of pages indicate inefficiency and carelessness which reflect unfavorably on the sender. within the body of the letter. the first line of each paragraph is brought out to the left maris gin. The usual procedure is to leave a margin of 20 spaces at the left. The text should be centered on the page with wide margins on both sides and top and bottom. If the message is very brief.THE FORM OF THE LETTER letter 23 should be indented just as in any other form of typing or printing. top-heavy letters. Furthermore. This form difference effective in attracting attention because of letter its arrangement. letter's first appeal is to the reader's A eye by means of attractive display. The letter should be symmetrical and balanced in aprewritten pearance. because of its numerous indentions. the hangingindention arrangement requires more stenographic time. running off the .
Long lists are located. GOOD ENGLISH IN LETTERS In business letters. there is an inseparable relationship between clear thinking and clear writing. and honjo of agencies. Those who use cheap stationery run the risk of being judged parsimonious and careless. a snap judgment be passed on a company as the result of the impression made by its letterhead and stationery. unorganized thought inevitably produces such writing as. or personnel ought never to be a part of the letterhead because they give the whole letter a cluttered appearance. Any symbol or emblem associated with a business may be included as a part of the letterhead. partly because manufacturers have educated them to appraise other companies by their letterheads and stationery. as in any other form of writing. If simplicity of design and quality are the criteria used in selecting the letterhead and stationery. STATIONERY AND LETTERHEAD Businessmen are becoming increasingly conscious of stationery and letterheads. the result will be in good taste. Although there has been a trend to various colors of stationery. Whether rightly or wrongly. white or some conservative color fore. where you you can be reached by telephone or cable. a preferable to anything that might give an impression of gaudiness. The letterhead should be as simple as possible. A standard size and good quality of stationery is. but it is may be considered inadequate unless it tells ivho you are.24 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS is unless the correspondent that he is willing to have his reader conclude careless and inefficient. products. there- may good investment. and it is our hope that we shall produce something definite in the near future. Vague." Grammatically. "In this case. ivhat you do. this sentence is . we have been working along these lines.
he must fall back on meaningless words and vague generalities. Although errors in grammar do not always result in a lack of clarity no for example." The first essential of good writing in any form is that the writer should have a clear conception in his own mind of what he wants to say. "He doesn't know any better. it makes difference whether a writer says "It don't matter to us" or "It doesn't matter to us" yet students should remember that the grammatical rules of our language generally incorporate the most logical means of expression. so far as clearness is concerned. Since the purpose of the business letter is to convey a message. but the writer has not sharpened his thought to pro- duce an exact. is Our use of English form of construction. And in that errors in grammar and moment ment of distraction. we can certainly expect correctness in grammar. and punctuation. as in the business letter where all who read may see our errors preserved in black and white. too great stress cannot be placed on the necessity for clear thinking and careful analysis before writing. spelling. such and spelling call attention to themselves thus distract the reader's mind from the message. these rules not as so many students seem to think because We they are the annoying whims of English teachers but because good grammar is the easiest. such as "We have been working on the problem of spoilage in shipping citrus fruits. Grammar involves not an artificial and an arbitrary set of rules but a logical system of should follow expressing our thoughts clearly and exactly. otherwise. the standard by which we are judged most logical more often than any other. he will probably make this harsh about the writer.THE FORM OF THE LETTER 25 correct. especially is this true of our written English. is no As a minimum requirement for any letter. There other way to attain clarity and forcefulness in writing. Furthermore. concise statement." com- . and we expect that our research department will soon have a solution.
. open punctuation is be considered the most up-to-date method. and puncand a willingness to consult any of the numerous handbooks of English will aid greatly in eliminating errors in business letters. Ann Arbor. the second. form used: 1. Michigan. closed punctuation the indented form. Careful proofreading grammar. open punctuation the semiblock form. A comma always follows the complimentary close. John McDowell 15 East Main Street September 15. Yours truly. certain types of punctuation are associated with various letter forms. 15 East Main Street.26 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS There is comments. regardless of the letter A colon always follows the salutation. may Mr. Open punctuation always accompanies the block form. usually. indented form with closed punctuation. 1947 Ann Arbor. spelling. John McDowell. The first is block form with open punctuation. and. Mr. McDowell: My dear Sir: 2. PUNCTUATING THE LETTER As has been indicated. 1947. Dear Mr. by taking the time and effort to learn the rules and to see that every letter one way to avoid such conforms to the best usage in tuation. Very truly yours. The following examples show the difference between open and closed punctuation. Michigan September 15. The modern tendency to omit punctuation wherever it is not necessary for clarity. Two rules for punctuation never vary. Sincerely yours. from that principle.
of the Comma clauses connected To We separate two independent by a co- ordinating conjunction (and. or clauses in series. likable. The Most Frequent Uses a. easier This plan is designed to give you more wider selection of merchandise. or. and intelligent. greatly appreciate the interest you have shown in our methods. the 27 accepted rules of punctuation should. When you have seen want one. you will . the as such. is be omitted. When the two clauses are short and closely connected. and we certainly wish we could comply with your request of October 15. nor}. will find him to be cooperative. be followed. it your responsibility and you must accept To separate words. of course. phrases. Particularly pertinent to business letters are the following: i. profit. payments. certainly all the features of this latest model. and You c. comma may This b. a source of gratification to us.THE FORM OF THE LETTER Within the letter itself. for through such how our appliances perform We store in time for had hoped that our sales representative would arrive at your your spring sale. The fact that the users of our products take the time to write us of is their experiences reports we get a valuable indication of under conditions of everyday use. To set off lengthy dependent elements preceding the main subject and verb. but he was delayed by the floods in southern Ohio. but. for.
the comma may be omitted. To set off nonrestrictive clauses. Our largest plant. Where the elements are brief and closely connected to the rest of the sentence. e. Mr. or where. James Hanson. you must take our three-week sales course. Gray. which is located in Columbus. are sending Mr. who has been with us many years. introduced usually by njoho^ which ^ that. we should Since our offer of an adjustment did not seem satisfactory to you. to assist you. is held in New York City. The man who sold me this merchandise is no longer associated with your company. has earned an enviable reputation in our personnel department.28 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS To be one of our dealers. will be open for inspection this spring. d. like you to tell us just what you would regard as a fair settlement. Naturally you should expect better mileage. The order tober 17.000 miles is a good tire. that we received on October 15 was shipped on Oc- To set off We parenthetical expressions and appositives. our chief engineer. Our annual convention offices are located. where our sales Notice that the following clauses require no punctuation because they are clearly restrictive: Any tire that goes 25. .
The following rules should be strictly observed: . the finest that we have ever produced. it was designed primarily for those whose knowledge and experience enable them to appreciate greater versatility and finer craftsmanship. The Use of the Apostrophe other punctuation mark likely to cause difficulty in business correspondence is the apostrophe. The real problem in using the apostrophe with possessives lies The only in placing it properly. however. hence. 3. therefore. will be i. that and new design. To separate two independent clauses connected by conjunctive adverbs. ample time for your Easter sale. such as however. The Most Frequent Uses of the Semicolon a. To separate two independent clauses not connected by a coordinating conjunction. thus. this should arrive in This new camera its is not intended for novices. you can be certain of delivery within 30 days. you will like this We know may By placing your order now. you return any of this merchandise within 30 days. similar words. thus. aren't. b.THE FORM OF THE LETTER 2g We knew. you can assure your customers of an adequate supply of antifreeze this winter. and doesn't. We shall send your merchandise on MarcB 24. don't. that these prices would not prevail for a long time. available shortly after June 2. It is required in two situations: to show possession and to indicate the omission of letters in contractions like can't. of course. Our latest model.
9 A company's location. It Personal pronouns require no apostrophe in the possesshould be noted. s. difficulties in capitalization occur in the salutation and the complimentary close. Dr.. Mr. b. in s or z: names ending Keats's poems.). etc. ours. hers (yours. Jones's report. Children's books. CAPITALIZATION In the business letter. Women's clothes. an s to form the possessive plural of words which do not end in s in their plural form. Dear Mr. Davidson: My dear Mr. Schwartz's clothes. is The book e. sive. Three days' pay. A customer's statement. however. s Proper names ending in syllable. Except for proper names and titles (President. that the form Ws is a contraction for It is.. salutation. capitalize only the first letter of the first word of the i. only the apostrophe One-syllable required. Add The only the apostrophe to plural nouns ending in The directors' report. EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS Add an V to form the possessive singular. if it is or z add J s if the name is of one a two-syllable is name ending in s or z. c. etc. Davidson: My dear Sir: . Hopkins' appointment. d. Two-syllable names ending in s or z : Dickens' novels. theirs. A child's book. creditors' meeting. Add Men's suits. Sir. Landis' ideas.).30 a.
Smith: Gentlemen: ) \ \ \ [Sincerely yours. The following groups show the various salutations and closes that may appropriately be used together. AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE SALUTATION AND THE COMPLIMENTARY CLOSE Although much of the verbiage of business letters is now somewhat meaningless as the result of outworn tradition. "Cordially yours" usually implies acquaintanceship or long business relationship. Cordially yours. THE SIGNATURE The below signature of the letter should be several spaces directly the complimentary close. These two partj should agree in tone since it is obviously inconsistent to begin with a highly formal salutation and to close in an informal or even friendly fashion. the stenographer customarily . Rather Formal My dear Mr. first word of the complimentary Yours very truly. Dear Sir: Dear Mr. Very truly yours. Yours truly. [Sincerely. "Dear Sirs" as a salutation is practically obsolete. "Respectfully yours" is generally used in letters to those older or of higher rank than the letter writer. Very sincerely yours. Smith:! My dear Sir: / Less Formal Yours very truly. Sincerely yours. 31 Capitalize only the first letter of the close.THE FORM OF THE LETTER 2. cer- tain degrees of formality or acquaintanceship in the choice of the salutation can be expressed and the complimentary close.
e. one which makes a is definite offer to sell or to liability company buy for a consideration). the legal the individual's responsibility. as anyone will realize who has addressed a letter to "Mr. A. the responsibility of the writer of a letter is determined by the way in which the letter is which signed. Winters" and found later that his correspondent is Agatha Winters. Such situations can be readily eliminated by having women . as in the example above. "we" need With the increased number of women in business. he incurs no indi- vidual legal responsibility. James Adams Sales Manager The Green Company policy will determine if letters should be signed with the typed name of the company and the individual's sig- Company nature.32 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS leaves sufficient space between the typed name and the title of the writer for his actual signature. If an individual signs as an individual a letter may be construed as a contract (i. as in the following example: Sincerely yours. The following examples illustrate this rather technical but nevertheless important distinction. the for a standard technique for their signatures is evident. In general. Harry Lynch. If he signs under the name as an agent of the company. those in terms of should indicate company responsibility.. Purchasing Agent The White Company The White Company Harry Lynch Purchasing Agent The most consistent method is to sign letters written in terms of "I" as individual responsibility.
the date should be placed in the upper right-hand section of the letter and at least two spaces above the first line of the inside address. 1947 a period follows the year depends on whether or closed punctuation is used. 1947 December 5. nd. Robert J. use numerals: 79 Fifth Avenue 2719 East 116th Street 3019 102nd Street . are part of the address. The Address The correct address to use in writing to any company or individual uses is on its exactly the same form as the company or individual stationery or advertising. 2. A married woman below it signs her full in parentheses: name with her married name Alberta Potter Webb (Mrs. East n6th Street. if they are more complex. Webb) MISCELLANEOUS SITUATIONS THAT CAUSE DIFFICULTY 1. Placing the Date below the directly letterhead. such as Fifth Avenue. July 3. The day of the month should Unless specific arrangement is made for it on or always be set off from the year by a comma: February 24. Miss in parentheses should be included. the best procedure is to write them out if they can be expressed in one word. Second Avenue. Such abbreviations as open 6/7/47 should be avoided because they cause confusion. July 3rd). May 2. Write September 15. May znd. But where initials are used. there is Whether or not no necessity for writing th. rd after numerals in the date (September i5th.THE FORM OF THE LETTER 33 sign their first name in full instead of with initials. When street names using numerals.
and Williams. Nebraska Dear Mr. The following examples illustrate these points: Williams. 1410 Broadway Building Cleveland. : Arnold Lehman. Sales Manager Gentlemen: When addressing a post-office box. Washington Mesdames Mr. if the first line of the address is the company name. if that line is plural (a partnership. a firm name). If the first line is The feminine (a firm composed entirely of women). or unknown. Sales Manager The Viking Air Conditioning Company 3133 Constitution Avenue Omaha. Inc. the salutation should be feminine. Lehman: but The Viking Air Conditioning Company 3133 Constitution Avenue Omaha. Even though the letter is directed to the attention of an individual. Arnold Lehman. a company. Nebraska Attention of: Mr. wherever the identity of the reader is a newspaper number. Constant. the salutation should be plural. salutation should always agree with the first line of the inside address. Ohio Gentlemen: The Three Sisters Dress Shop 3914 East Third Street Seattle. the salutation should be plural. Clement. use "Gentle- men" as the proper salutation: .34 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS Choosing the Salutation 3.
The attention device may be placed in either of the following ways: The Black Company 1419 Broad Street Winchester. policy numbers.THE FORM OF THE LETTER B 14978. Michael Cunningham Gentlemen: or The Black Company 1419 Broad Street Winchester. 35 The New York Times Times Square New York. Massachusetts Attention of Mr. The Worthy and White Company 2789 Canal Street Kingston. or other aids in identifying the business at hand may be made in a similar manfile Mention of ner. New York Your file No. New York Gentlemen: Directing the Letter to the Attention of an Individual within the 4. 71698 Gentlemen: . Massachusetts Attention: Mr. Company Frequently business of a it is desirable to direct letters which concern the an has had previ- whole firm or corporation to the attention of individual within the company with whom one ous correspondence or who is familiar with the specific problem at hand. Michael Cunningham Gentlemen: numbers.
These pages may be headed in any of letters are When the following ways: Mr. Envelopes Small envelopes should be used for single-page letters without enclosures. This information should be placed at the left margin of the letter and at least two spaces lower on the paper than the W:m to be last line of the signature. larger envelopes for all other letters. EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS The Second Page of the Letter more than one page in length. Cunningham 6. the additional pages should be on stationery to match the first sheet but without the letterhead. Cunningham: 2 -2Page 2 Mr. FJP/KRS FLTrCMJ RLSrmcg Whenever enclosures are should be made as follows: FJP/KRS Encl.36 5. made. drafts. notation of that fact Enclosures should be arranged in back of the letter in the order of their importance or in the sequence in which they are mentioned in the letter. 7. Indicating the Dictator and the Stenographer Numerous methods of indicating the initials of the dictator of the letter and the stenographer are in common vise. the address on the . With the exception of checks or enclosures should never be placed on top of a letter. The complete address should always be given even though the company or the individual is well known.
THE FORM OF THE LETTER 37 envelope should agree exactly with the inside address on the letter. Punctuate the following letter: June 6 1947 Mr James Lloyd President Black Black and Black Inc 231 First Street Warren Pa Dear. All initials.who was formerly a clerk in your firrrv has given your name as a reference and has indicated that you can tell of his education his experience and his character Mr We should appreciate your answers to the following questions . How long was Mr Eastman connected with your firm . in a it make your reprecorrect in every detail. as many a correspondent has discovered to his chagrin. take care to is. Finally. read it carefully for errors in spelling. check carefully any necessary corrections. Before placing the letter in the envelope. grammar. What was his highest salary his specific duties * What were We shall of course shall keep this information in strictest confidence and we be grateful for any other material that might bear on our considera- tion of Mr Eastman as a prospective employee Sincerely yours . you can avoid a great deal of embar- rassment and confusion envelope! by placing the letter in the proper EXERCISES i. names. Proofvery real sense. or typing. WILLINGNESS TO REVISE THE LETTER Since the finished letter sentative. and addresses should be accurate. punctuation. Mr x Lloyd Robert Eastman .
Binghamton. were arranged in indention form. grammar. what changes should be form and punctuation? What salutation and complimentary close would be used appropriately for each of the following inside addresses? a. What errors are made in the form. N. O. for a in this morning's Herald-Tribune and secretary. : letter in block form and add the necessary June 22 1947 The C F Thomas Mfg Co East Liverpool Ohio F Ely Sales Manager Attention M Gentlemen We appreciate your thoughtfulness in calling our attention to the article on Air Conditioning in South Africas Largest City in the June 6 issue of Import-Export Magazine. d. Ohio The Honorable Thomas E. Box 76394 b. Box 2Z 3719 The New York Herald-Tribune 6-7-47 New Dear I I York. New York The John C. c. Since we shall be able to use excerpts from the article in a sales letter you have done us a real service for none of the members of our organization had seen the article before you called it to our attention Sincerely yours George C Delaney President spelling of the 4. New York New York The Registrar Amherst College Amherst. . P. Sir: was reading the advertisements happened to see your ad. Dewey Governor of the State of Albany. and following letters? a.38 If this letter EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS in its made 2. Y. Meade Company 371 East 5oth Street Canton. Massachusetts Arrange the following punctuation 3.
They object to us sending samples even to an old customer like you. if we did violating the principals of our trade association. Black My Dear Mr. I shall hope to hear from you. with we shall comply with everyone of their rules. Maine. We have recieved your We hope request for our booklet "Principles of Selling" affects in which we are glad to send you. Ala. Attention: Mr. hope you will consider my qualifications which I am giving in some on the enclosed personal record sheet. D. We We hope our refusal will not effect our pleasant relations. b. because I dislike my present position and I want very much to work in New York City. Most cordially yours. '47 Birmingham. manufacturer of children's toys. the matter you wrote us of has interested us greatly. This booklet has had excellent aiding numerous companies to increase their sales. 6/21/47 Gentlemen : Referring to your letter of June r8th. The A. Mr. We cannot however send you the samples we would be would like you suggested. E. 241 July iyth. Bradley Co. Ruth Smith. C. you will find it useful. Everyone of us every way in this company are trying to cooperate in each and are determined that the National Trade Association. Black. H. East One Hundred Sixth Street. Yours Truly c. B.THE FORM OF THE LETTER 39 I am a high school graduate with one year of business college and two years of experience as secretary to the sales manager of the Brown Novelty Corporation. . I detail In the event that you are interested. Sincerely Yours. Hale 1 6th Street 3179 Bangor.
Punctuate the following sentences from business letters: Our records show that on January 3 1947 he ordered the following models No 25 $126 No 27 $139 No 29 $152 b. know you are getting the best on June 30 1947 Mr. devote your spare time to our proposal Before signing an important letter you should read it over very carefully and ask yourself how would this sound in court if suit you will were brought /. especially for executives like you Since you have made no reply to our letters of 2 December 15 g. Make your Wv sound like you then you need never worry your experience with our about their impersonality We are grateful to you for telling us of heater in your letter of February 1 2 but not the heater is causing your difficulty 0. The i. letter which closes with a specific request for action is better than the one with a vague indefinite or participial ending Our graduates have their choice of three different fields production sales or research . Does weeks this interest if you you can double your profits within three k.EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS a. we believe that the fuel When you buy Blank At the directors' p. A refrigerator such as yours that has given ten years of service should have a thorough reconditioning . was designed /. you do not wish January and January 15 to assume the responsibility which you must realize is yours We shall be forced therefore to turn this bill over to our attorney we are of course reluctant to do this that we must conclude h. d. Our representative Mr Gray has told you of this newest model of ours which has broken all sales records within the first six months of 1947 letters m. must have your approval before we can proceed The camera has been dropped or damaged in some way and its lens must be replaced This model which is our best seller at present will give you the dealer a 20 per cent margin of profit This catalogue was not written for the public it e. Jones Annual meeting Report to the stockholders was approved and the yearly dividend was increased products you q.. The cost of the repairs on your machine is slight however we ( c.
Everybody will be happy to learn that neither the depression nor Watt. ment in the future Thank you for your interest in our sales methods we are delighted naturally that you have selected us for inclusion in your report 6. a drawing board. our representative. W. Included in this remarkable offer d. included as a general review. 4I to tell During these many months of material shortages weve had write so many letters refusing orders that it is a pleasure to you that we can now s. is violated and correct the sentence in accordance with the Referring to your letter of April 29. To be effective. is a set of drawing instruments. Although gram- matical construction and correct spelling do not fall within the province of this book. According to authoritative reports from the coat and suit industry there will be a shortage of mens suits and childrens clothes which will last until August 1949 w. State the rule that rule: a. When we fill your order in 30 days extended credit to you we expected that you would t. meet your obligations promptly however we are forced to the conclusion that we were wrong The applicant is a man of fine character and good habits and I am . Our in tion against price fluctuation credit arrangements with the company which you mentioned have proved rather unsatisfactory however with the greater demand for childrens books they may show some improveyour letter y. This plan a product of our intense market research will give you greater information wider choice of markets and increased protecx. The following sentences from business letters contain grammatical errors. it is essential that students heed their importance. therefore. .THE FORM OF THE LETTER r. two world wars has affected their investments in life insurance. upon investigation you will find he possesses the qualifications which are necessary for the position he seeks This product which resulted from three years work in our research laboratory will be on the market in three weeks sure that v. business letters must be correct. and a scientifically designed lamp. J. will call on you on May 3. Mr. The suggestion that our sales force should devote all their time to our lowest priced models have proved sound. b. This exercise and the one following are. .
Neither of the applicants you recommended were position. One customer tells a friend that his heating costs are the lowest in years. If I fitted for this u. treasurer or the members Each h. EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS Jones reported the discrepancy to the sales manager. and of the /. /. Raymond for the position you suggested. was in your place. We are sending this inquiry because we believe that either your g. all m. The first ones to take advantage of your offer were my associates and me. of which carries an unconditional guarantee for one year. Our company devoting their efforts to this work.. Service for advice. Whom I shall I tell him you are? us. The salesman together with two men from our research department are to demonstrate this new model in your territory on January 4. When Mr. and then our sales increase. buyers are n. o. i. Brown. The award which was presented to my partner and I is a symbol r. of this company's part in the project. model is May 4. Black. A thorough knowledge of the product. he told him that some adjustment would have to be made. Who did you talk to the last time you visited our organization? . when he was with us. Everybody must be w. I should like to direct this inquiry to whomever is in charge of q. of your auditing department has had experience with this kind of problem. Mr.42 e. past experience shows that our the most efficient of the two you suggested for installation in a hotel. he acted like he knew every v thing and was difficult to get along with. the market. t. v. I. s. I would consult the Blank Marketing at their desk at 9 o'clock. and p. all that is is necessary. The possibility of you winning this contest is greater than Answering your inquiry of largest ever. x. None of our salesmen are more competent than him. your research department. . can give you the assurance of three of Mr. that costs of production will surely rise. This fine radio may be obtained in a variety of attractive models. k. I regret that I cannot recommend Mr.
embezzled the of money. Our letter of November 10. every merchant should /. n. Our sales department loses a lot of valuable time in sending out letters to people which could be used much more profitably. t.THE FORM OF THE LETTER y. Every member of the department have to do their share of the work. . he sold only not aware of you being in the city. c. q. The cashier. these parts. and grain exist between these European countries and the United States. was him who told you to answer that letter. whom we thought was an honest man. e. We do not approve of him buying on the installment plan. h. a journal. to your inquiry of August 15. " you this morning. as well as two previous ones. Included in the set was a ledger. k. With all signs pointing toward a recession. have been ignored. m. please return r. Having so many debts and creditors seeking payment. manufactured goods. raw materials. and a cash book. do their buying with caution and cut their orders to a minimum. off the names of those whom you think will not be i. o. Please cross interested. They are writing to a man whom I am told is very capable. 43 Referring requested cannot be divulged. g. We regret that first we were p. s. A comparison of their resources show a marked improvement. Since the If the of this month. The exchange /. but everyone of us are doing our best '^ ) to increase our business. 6. He has never objected to us using the telephone during office hours. the information you Rewrite the following sentences to correct any grammatical errors: a. j. In this book is recorded the name and address of every employee. * We are not a big company. machine does not work satisfactory after these adjustments it are made. An illustrated booklet together with samples of the materials were ' sent to d. we could produce more of It u. the court was forced to appoint a referee in bankruptcy for the company. two automobiles. If our labor supply was more abundant. to us.
x. The goods were already shipped when we tion notice. In performing this assignment. the worker must the instrument board to keep them under control. eyes on 8. he would be better off. received your cancellafix his y. EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS Which best? of the two methods recommended by the committee was w. Use the list to check the accuracy of your own spelling : acceptable accessories chargeable Cincinnati clientele depreciation description desirable accidentally accommodate accustom addressed collectible development disappointment discrepancy dissatisfied adjustment advisable allotted all column commission commodities commitment committee comparative concede concession confer distributor ready eligible already all right embarrass enforceable ' c analysis equipped equitable apologize assurance conference congratulate conscientious controlled equivalent evidently authorize convenience balance believing beneficial exaggerate exceed corroborate exchangeable exorbitant courteous creditor benefited criticize experience extension bookkeeper bureau decision feasible deductible February financial calendar deferred deficit changeable financier . The following list includes 200 words frequently misspelled in business correspondence. If he was in a different type of job where he didn't have to work with people.44 v.
THE FORM OF THE LETTER 45 .
Appoint three of your classmates to report on the replies in a panel discussion on "Letter Styles in Use Today." . usage 10 Select members asking their reasons for deciding of your group to write to different companies upon the particular form of letter which they use.46 superintendent EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS treasurer typical using usually supersede supervisor supplementary tendency transferable undoubtedly unforeseen unnecessary until vacancy warehouse Wednesday welfare transferred 9.
more direct. of course. called attention making governmental communications more simple." illu- With a grin. nor was "termination of the illumination" his language. in the midst of the terrible crisis their countries ever faced. "Such preparations shall be made. he continued once more with the letter: and after a roar "Other areas. "This will. Roosevelt hastened to remark that "obscuration" was not his word. During his term as Prime Minister. require that in building areas in which production must continue during the blackout. The late President Roosevelt's attitude was reflected in the following news story by the Associated Press: to the importance of WASHINGTON. . if the British war effort was to proceed with maximum efficiency. of laughter subsided. less wordy. Roosevelt asserted that he knew some people who had internal illumination.CHAPTER III Business Jargon Two most of the busiest men in the world. MARCH 12 (AP) The polished polysyllabic profundities of the director of one of our largest defense agencies seem to be a little too fancy for President Roosevelt. He read on. Mr. Such obscuration may be obtained either by blackout construction or by termination of the mination. The Chief Executive read had been prepared for to a press conference yesterday a letter to send to the Federal which the him Works Agency on subject of blacking out federal buildings during air raids. "as will completely obscure all Federal buildings and non-Federal buildings occupied by the ity Federal Government during an air raid for any period of time from visibilby reason of internal or external illumination. and less hackneyed." Mr. construction must be provided that internal illumination may continue. Winston Churchill insisted that reports within governmental bureaus must be more concise." the letter said.
to put something across the window. is slightly over 40 cents. The have a large investimportant fact that every it is less letter writer should remember is this: expensive to . "Tell him. this letter may sound like an absurd exaggeration. turned to his press secretary. turn out the lights. has just come to my hand. including the time spent by the dictator and stenographer and the cost of materials. Stop here.48 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS whether or not occupied by personnel. Executives who Jargon" or "Business Diction. Stephen Early. may be obscured by terminating The Chief Executive stopped. In reply to state in reference to same that we are remitting herewith our check as per your statement in the amount of $110. and pompous expressions to be found anywhere in written com- pride themselves on their efficiency and on the forcefulness of their speaking lapse in writing into a stilted style which is usually known as "Business munication. Even small companies with comparatively few letters ment in their correspondence. unfortunately. "that the illumination.15 al ng to 7 OU today.15." is all too likely to write a letter dealing with the same situation in the following fashion: Dear Sir: Your esteemed favor we beg of the isth inst. Kindly be advised that as per our records our account with you is paid to date. "I'm sending a check for $110. Experts estimate that the average cost of a business letter. it is rather typical. To those unacquainted with business. meaningless. for there has grown up in our correspondence the most amazing collection of strange." The same man who would phone a business friend and say in a natural way. American businessmen could profit from these examples. and ordered a rewrite job." in buildings where they have to keep the work going. Thanks for being so patient about this. In their letters. In buildings where they can afford to let the work stop for awhile." he ordered." he said. We beg to remain Yours truly.
as per our previous conversations. How may this be done? The wide use of such phrases as "beg to state. Have I phrased this as directly and concisely as possible? I 2. The letter writer should ask himself: 1. IVJost of us have developed a vague dislike of writing let- which usually arises from a feeling that letter writing is an unnatural and strange means of communication. By contrast. the wordy letter. Would say it this way if I were talking instead of writ- ing? This second question is perhaps the clue to the whole situation. it reflects dislike tersa our personalities directly without requiring the medium of cold words on the printed page. with meaningless phrases and hackneyed expressions. "Mr. conversation seems to us more natural. with reference to your phone call of recent date. and we beg to state that we thank . Two criteria would eliminate all Business Jargon from letters. Brown. "Would I say it this way if I were talking?" There is a remote possibility that he may be that hitherto-undiscovered person who greets a friend in Business Jargon at its flowery worst. more expense. sound business to eliminate all useless phrases and unnecessary words from letters. consequently. our letters sound unnatural and strange. my wife and I beg to acknowledge your kind favor of an invitation to bridge. requires more time and." stems only from a refusal by many letter writers to think originally and from a willingness to let their own communication fall into the same pattern that many others use without any critical examination.BUSINESS JARGON 'write a 49 or ambiguous good letter than a poor one. therefore. The vague letter requires further correspondence to clarify the situation. the correspondent can eliminate almost all of the pompous jargon that surrounds letters by asking himself." "as per your favor of recent date." and "referring to yours of i8th inst. easier. If this analysis is correct. As a result. It is.
Beginning students should consider them as warnings of bad habits that writers may fall into." A meaningless phrase. wish to acknowledge say your Forget "Thank you 7. may which they may measure the well use them as a yardstick effectiveness of their dic- Acknowledge receipt of receipt of letter. As per etc. ex- The following is of the more common perienced letter writers against tion. at the earliest possible moment Say "soon" and save yourself some words." Advise is a perfectly good word. . has no place in the era of the typewriter." &s Jfi "In answer to your letter of August we wish to advise that shipment has been made. for your Advise letter." us in At an early At hand date. ." Another barbaric mixture. TRITE AND OUTWORN a list EXPRESSIONS TO AVOID expressions included in Business Jargon. "Thanks for the invitais happy evening. it does not mean "to inform" and should never be used in that sense. "As per our records. carrying on research along Make it specific." j the quill pen. that his letters will ability. but it means "to give advice". Brown. take on the natural tone of his speech. Bill. say "according to.So EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS in advance for a you a greater probif he keeps this criterion in mind. as in "I have your letter of May 9 at hand." There tion. Along these lines as in "We are these lines." as in "We it. We are looking forward to a pleasant evening with Business Jargon belongs to the age of it you and Mrs." "As per your letter." Omit it entirely since "at hand" adds nothing." ter of May 9" or better "Your letter of May 9. Attached please find No hunting is necessary if your check . "I have your let.
Omit "beg" entirely. At your earliest convenience Say "soon" and save yourself some words." etc." Enclosed please find as in "Enclosed please ftnd our check in won't have to hunt for your check if it is enclosed.10. acknowledge.BUSINESS JARGON or order u is SI attached. Say enclose our check for $37. Each and every as "Each and every one of us appreciates this. state." Say "Thank you for your letter" and let it go at that. referring. current date. waiting." "Your letter of "Your letter of Januas in Favor as in "Thank you for your favor of October 22" or "In response to your favor of July 10." He Even date. but you probably mean "We hope to hear from you soon" or "Please let us hear from you. simply say "We enclose" or "We are enclosfor $25. recent date even date." meaningless and outworn expression. Contents duly noted as in "Your favor received and contents duly noted." "Beg to acknowledge." "Beg to inform." close our We Beg to state. or remain without as in any "begging". it is absurd for perfectly solvent firms to go around begging in their business letters." Never call a letter a "favor"." "Beg "Beg to remain.10. thanking." Give the specific date." Why say the same thing twice? Say "Every one of us" or "Each one of us. call it what it is a letter. etc." ing. When these are used in beginning or ending a letter as in "Referring to . Say "We are attaching" or encheck" and let it go at that. Hand you as in "We herewith hand you our check for $37. Go ahead and inform. ary 12. Awaiting your favor This might make a song title." A "We Hoping.
Say "We shall be grateful for any information you may care to send." or "Your order of the 25th ult." May 15." the check. ult." Don't be afraid to use "I believe" or "We think. Thank you again Once is usually enough. it is correctly used as a pronoun only in legal terminology.. In receipt of as in "We are in receipt of your check." "Same" should be used as an adjective. meaningless to "Your letter of 'Permit "We enclose our check for $33.16. furthermore." Inst. it: Same as in "In answer to same." The writer writer believes" or "It is the opinion obvious and pompous attempt to give the impression of modesty by avoiding the use of "I" or "we.as in "Your letter of the i5th inst. recast the sentence to get rid of the participle. and. Thanking you in advance as in "Thanking you in advance for any information you may send. are sending by parcel post" (or express or air mail) . "We .. ." Poor psychology because it antagonizes the reader by too obviously assuming that he is going to do what you want him to." Simply say "for" as in many readers. prox." This is a barbaric mixture of it is English and Latin. Give the specific date "Your order of October 25." This should be used very sparingly." me to say Go on and say no permission is needed. Avoid all participial constructions in beginning and ending letters." Under separate cover as in "We are sending under separate cover." In (or to or for) the amount of as in "We enclose our check in the amount of $33.52 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS chances are good that this construction will result in a dangling participle." Say "We have received your check" or "Thank you for your your letter.16. wherever as in "The of the writer." An possible be specific.
at a loss for the words with which to begin. Recast the sentence to eliminate letter" or them. records. We beg to advise you that shipment of your order was made yesterday. and the writer wishes to state that we regret exceedingly any inconvenience you may have experienced as the result of this As per our . ing by asking "Would say it revising their letters and this way if I were talk- EXERCISES i." Business "Yours received and confall Jargon will I into disuse only when writers avoid it by constantly themselves." Say "Your "Your order. 1947 a. Co. you say Avoid these wherever possible because they antagonize the reader by implying that his statement is not true." Say "I. 2742 Att : of Mr. Ohio. you state. Wordy and are sorry for our mistake." that ive are in err or. Whitney: Referring to yours of the i6th inst. tents duly noted. Correct any errors in the form and diction of the following letters: June 2ist. The Green Manufacturing gth Street Cincinnati. shipment was to have been made on June 15. too many dictators.. June 20. Yours as in "Yours of recent date. But there is still a long way is to direct go before the language of the great majority of letters and forceful.BUSINESS JARGON 53 The undersigned We regret to inform you "We See comments on "the writer. Too many writers are still "terminating the illumination" instead of "putting out the lights". James Whitney My Dear Mr. instead of writing?". clutch at that last straw of the routine mind. progress is being made in eliminating Business Jargon from today's business letters." hackneyed." Fortunately. Say You claim.
Dear Sir: In reply to yours of October 29 would state that the undersigned cannot give out the information requested. Along that line. we are taking this matter under advisement. Lamppert will be in your vicinity in a month or two. by Regretting the inconvenience caused and hoping that affect our amicable relations. truly. c. our Mr. We are of the opinion. In reference to your suggestion that shipments be made by truck rather than by train. however. I would respectfully suggest that you consult some portable consulting engineer in your section on the problem raised.54 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS delay. that shipment by rail is generally preferable because our plant has direct connections rail." Should there be other questions do not hesitate to write in the near future. Cordially yours it will not Robert Clark b. I am. Dear Sir: Your esteemed favor of even date has been given due consideration. I Sincerely yours. a willingness to serve customers is the very backbone of our entire sales policy. we may continue to solicit your business in the future. Yours very d. Yours of Oliver: 1 4th received and contents duly noted. Enclosed please find our booklet "Air Conditioning for Tomorrow's Home. Unfortunately our company policy sible for is such as to make it impos- you your research on plastic cases for radios. Dear Mr. Advise us if you want him to call on you. to help in me Trusting remain. In reply we wish to state that in view of the stated facts we .
Rewrite the following a. Yours of the 2nd received and in reply permit regret me to say that we we cannot send you the samples you asked for because of material shortages. we wish to take this opportunity to state that the merchandise about which you letter for a bill c. quantities. truly. Referring to your communication of recent date. Yours very 2. which you had already paid. In response would say that we were gratified to learn that e. Welch: It is a matter of great pleasure to me and indeed to all the members of our organization to be able to inform you at this time that we are now engaged in the manufacture of luminous-face electric alarm clocks to sell at retail for $5. We would beg to remain. the delay in the shipment of the merchandise you ordered..95.23 for the balance due. letters to make them more effective: Dear Mr. enclosed order blank which gives the wholesale prices on various feel that these clocks firmly convinced that these clocks will appeal not only to you yourself but also to your customers. letter of 7-11-47 addressed to the undersigned was received in due course was referred to our shipping department. 55 31764 to No the amount of Kindly be advised that as per our records of this date our account with you is paid. I . The writer is can confidently state without fear of contradiction that our new electric alarm clock which we have named Along these lines. in the You hear from them near future relative to the reasons for d. 3. We that are in receipt of yours of the igth and in reply we regret exceedingly our mistake in sending would state you a collection /. would merit the approval of your Should you I shall be only too happy to receive your order on the clientele. direct Rewrite the following sentences to eliminate jargon and to make them and forceful: a. our meters have given you such good service. Answering your favor of August 21 which we appreciate very much. Your and will inquired was shipped as per your instructions on January 9.BUSINESS JARGON are remitting herewith our check $16.
but not in accordance with our records. the amount of $27.56 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS The Titan is the finest alarm clock in its price field. e. Dear Mr. therefore. await the balance of your remittance.46. this is to acknowledge your check in the records. As per our amount of our bill. With reference Very truly yours. Caldwell: Your communication of 25 assure you that the damage claim. Yours b. Dear Mr. truly. Should the need enclosing arise for any of our parts. Putnam : to yours of recent date would state that we are herewith our latest sales prospectus. at hand and in answer wish to is to your radio cabinet not. The that our inspection tag shows it left the cabinet was in A-i condition when our plant. Thank you again for your consideration. our fault. is ult. d. sent on the loth was note that you claim you are entitled to a discount.01. c. Dear Sirs : We are in receipt of your communication dated 7/9/47 and have duly noted the contents. . Sincerely. Gentlemen: We wish $31. we will be very glad to fill your order for same. as you The writer certain that this fact of the matter damage must have occurred is in shipment. The matter being referred by us to the Smoot Trucking pany and you will doubtless hear from them in due course. is Com- Yours truly. Hence we cannot accept the blame for this situation. We We shall.
As a class project. In re the make of piano we would recommend. Write to them to for information Write Direct and Concise Letters. Sincerely. Hoping you will find the type of instrument you are looking for.BUSINESS JARGON 57 Since shipping costs on such heavy items as second-hand pianos are prohibitive. Select five companies which your instructor recommends as being well knoun for the effectiveness of their letters." Report to the class on the results of the interview. would suggest that you contact a dealer in your immediate vicinity." Prepare a summary of their answers for an oral report to for a report you will make to the class on "How the class . I am forced to state that ethics will not permit such recommen- dation. 4. select a member of the class to interview a cor- respondence supervisor suggested by your instructor on the subject "What the Company Has Done to Eliminate Business Jargon from Its Letters. 5.
This situation allows the letter writer no time for stalling with his message nor for hesitancy in coming to the point. the necessary message is combe easy to read if it is to have to get the reader to maximum success as take a message which seeks some desired action or point of view. the vast increase in the number of sales letters within recent years has made letter readers increasingly skeptical and more likely to toss letters into the wastepaper basket. most businessmen have many claims on their attention and other letters than that most important one of ours to read. Furthermore. He must start to say something from the first word and stop when plete. nothing could be further from the truth. His letter must. also discussed the importance of and analysis before writing. in which whose products don't . Let us now examine some of the specific methods of organizing and arranging the letter to make it easy to read.CHAPTER IV Making Every his brain child will Letters Easy to Read message which is letter writer likes to think that the completely absorb the attention of the reader. In the last chapter we emphasized the importance of avoiding Business Jargon because such pompous wordiness is definitely not easy to read. this. Actually. certain letters may be given only a perfunctory reading or a hasty glance. will aid in ease thought of reading. We The correspondent who realizes how his letter will probably be read is He thinks of his reader as glancing through the mail there are inevitably several sales letters better prepared to organize his thoughts effectively. too. in short. As a result.
he will pass on to can such a readother news stories that do interest him. The reader's eye is repelled by it and refuses to take it all in. to let his eye run hastily first sentence of each succeeding paragraph. It Must Be Short Nothing more discourages the reader than a whole section of closely packed print or type. 2. Our eyes are attracted to short snatches read all of printed conversation simply because they are short. The novel reader who says. It must say something. the whole letter may be read with care." is merely giving expression to the dislike that bulky paragraphs arouse in most readers. the rest of the message may be skimmed or skipped entirely. if it is not. To be effective. "I the conversation and skip the long descriptions. For the same reason. and perto read the last paragraph completely. the first paragraph of the letter should be brief in . must be short. the first paragraph of a business letter should observe two principles: 1 . If it is direct and interesting. if it doesn't. It i. reading the "leads. for it is both the headline and the lead for the message that follows." and letting his eye glance through the topic sentences of the rest of the news story.MAKING LETTERS EASY TO READ much interest him. He is like a man haps reading the newspaper. If that sort of "skimming" arouses his interest sufficiently. scanning the headlines. How er's interest be caught and held? THE FIRST PARAGRAPH This reading technique puts a premium upon the first paragraph of the letter. the over the 59 reader's technique is probably to glance at the first paragraph of each letter. he may go back and read the story from beginning to end.
It should never contain more than two or three short sentences. Referring to yours of October 14. statement of what A is about. 2. A This is to answer yours of October 14. or with an incomplete thought like 3. It Must Say Something these three sentences of the opening paragraph should say something seems sufficiently evident. The im- . surprising number of correspondents begin their letters with some such sentence as 1.60 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS order to lead the reader on to the rest of the message. the reference should be subordinated. spondence. The fact that a specific letter is being answered should be as sufficient evidence that it has been received. a. it should never be featured. Two things should be in the which first paragraph: A reference to the date of the letter being answered or to similar details will give continuity to the correthis letter b. unless is it is a sales letter in which the first paragraph designed primarily to attract attention. Yet many letters in modern business tell the reader nothing he does not al- That two or ready know. or 2. We have received your letter of October 14. why waste the most important part of the letter the equivalent of taken a newspaper headline merely to tell a reader that his letter has been received or that it was dated October 14? When it is necessary to refer to previous correspondence. The reference to the date of earlier letters or to similar details should always be subordinated.
More effective: Thank you order. we beg to state that we regret the error made in your last order. all else should be subordinate. for your letter of July 16 calling filling attention to our mistake in your last Incomplete sentence : Acknowledging receipt of your letter of February 15 in which you asked for a copy of "Better Homes for Small Incomes/' We are glad to send you a copy of this booklet. Weak and full of Busi- ness Jargon: In reply to yours of July 16. construction costs.MAKING LETTERS EASY TO READ 61 portant task of the first paragraph is to announce what this letter is about in order to arouse the reader's interest. We . we wish to state that our research staff has been working for a long time on the problem that you mentioned the reader nothing that he doesn't already and has finally succeeded in solving it. In it you will find the answers to your questions about design. Notice the effectiveness of the second method of writing each of Weak and cause the tell the following opening paragraphs: ineffective befirst 10 words Replying to yours of May 10. know: Direct and effective: Our research staff has successfully solved the problem of insulating old homes about which you inquired in your letter of May 10. Trite and ineffective: Yours of January 15 received and contents wish to say that we are referring your question to our sales department. Better: We gladly enclose "Better Homes for Small Incomes" which you requested on February 15. and financing of your new home. duly noted.
Smith." ticiple. we hope to be able to return this favor. it is ungrammatical because the par- "Referring to yours of March 21. while his secretary sits with pencil poised: "Referring to yours of March 2 1" a long pause while he gropes for an idea -"our representative. you insist on using participial constructions in your letyou can at least insure grammatical correctness by ob- serving the rule that the agent or doer of the action in the participle is the same as the subject of the sentence: Wrong: Referring to yours of March 21. Correct: Thanking you for this assistance. Better: We appreciate your assistance and hope to be able to return this favor. our representative will personally investigate this problem. Almost invariably such a beginning indicates that the writer has not thought out what he wants to say and is It is a merely stalling for time until an idea strikes him.62 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS concise More and direct : Our sales department is assembling material which should prove helpful in answering your inquiry of January 15. Wrong: Thanking you for that this assistance. I have asked our representative to investigate this problem." This is not only a waste of words and an unnecessary featuring of the date of his letter. it is our hope we may return this favor sometime. . Correct but ineffective: Referring to your letter of March 21. If ters. good policy never to begin a letter with a participial expression. Mr." obviously does not modify "our representative. will personally handle your problem of insulation. One can almost see him pacing up and down.
" but. In business letters. The following two the paragraph can contribute to the ease of reading: Dear Mr. the paragraph is used as a de- making the message letters illustrate how easier to read. the chief of which are replacement of one part of the shutter mechanism and readjustment of the timing. that our service department has found nothing seriously wrong with few. addressed post card. . Potter: tell We you. If you will send us your check for $2. Indeed. however.17. as you doubtless realize. Just as soon as we'll return you sign and mail the enclosed.MAKING LETTERS EASY TO READ The of a best rule. Potter: We are glad to tell you. department has are glad to Model 1 2 A. Sincerely yours. Model 12 A. is 63 to avoid participles as the beginning PARAGRAPHING THE REST OF THE LETTER In business correspondence. if this literary definition accepted. Dear Mr. in answer to your letter of May 4. letter. your camera as good as new ready to catch that picture ahead that you'll treasure as a moment of happiness recaptured. Our guarantee covers "any defect of workmanship or materials within one year of normal use. stamped. most letters would be messages of one paraall graph. The camera appears to have been dropped or seriously jarred. for vice for of the sentences in a letter usually concern one central idea. a different conception of the function of the paragraph is needed from the literary one which defines the paragraph as a group of related sentences forming were a unit of thought. it does not cover careless handling. in answer to your letter of May 4. A your Blank and adjust- ments are needed. we will put your camera in first-class condition and renew our guarantee on workmanship and materials for another year. that our service found nothing seriously wrong with your Blank Camera. comparatively inexpensive repairs Camera.
in the four-paragraph the following basis: made on Paragraph i : A reference to the date of the letter being answered and a statement of what this letter is about. stamped. it does not cover careless handling.17. The camera appears to have been dropped or chief of * seriously jarred. the division is units. If the literary definition of the paragraph is accepted. To present these subdivisions of the thought in the most able fashion. Paragraph 2: Paragraph 3: Paragraph 4: A statement of what is wrong with the camera and why. An explanation of why the guarantee does not cover this situation and a statement of the cost. the first letter is quite correct be- cause all the sentences concern one central idea. Just as soon as you sign and mail the enclosed. addressed post card. we'll return your camera as good as new ready to catch that picture ahead that you'll treasure as a moment of happiness recaptured. Thus. Sincerely yours. we will put your camera in first-class condition and renew our guarantee on workmanship and materials for another year. A glance shows how much more inviting to the eye the second version of this letter its is than the first. the paragraphs of the business letter should be . An incentive to action. as you doubtless realize. It should be apparent from this example that the literary concept of the paragraph must be abandoned in business letters in favor of a concept that uses the paragraph as a device for breaking up a thought into more readable letter above. which repels the eye by lack of paragraphing.64 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS A few comparatively inexpensive repairs and adjustments are needed. the which are replacement of one part of the shutter mechanism and readjustment of the timing. however. If you will send us your check for $2. Our guarantee covers "any defect of workmanship or materials within one year of normal use/' but.
MAKING LETTERS EASY TO READ
kept short. This does not mean that each paragraph should be just one brief sentence; such an extreme is to be avoided. But the general principle is sound: Keep the paragraphs of the business letter as short as is consistent with completeness because that makes the letter easy to read.
THE FINAL PARAGRAPH
too familiar with the guest who says Good and then sits down for another half-hour to tell one night" more story or experience. After this process has been repeated several times, the guest actually leaves and the weary host
breathes a sigh of
writers of business letters use a
annoying technique. After they have said everything necessary, they go on repeating the same ideas in different
One principle should be followed in the closing paraof the letter: Stop when the message is complete. graph The function of the last paragraph of every letter is to make
as easy as possible for the reader to take cept a point of view that the writer wants
an action or to ac-
properly employed, the final paragraph will the reader how easily he may do this thing that will
Hence, when a department store wants to get a customer to return some piece of merchandise which has been
hope that you
replaced, the last paragraph of the letter should not read,
will return this dress for credit as
soon as possible,
should offer some such incentive to the customer
shall gladly credit
Just as soon as you return this dress, with $11.75.
enclosing self-addressed envelopes or post cards and referring specifically to these enclosures in their final paragraphs, many correspondents stimulate action by making it very easy.
Especially effective are such closing paragraphs as the follow-
EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS
and offer an easy means
of taking action:
Just sign and mail the enclosed post card and you will receive in concise, readable form for the next 52 weeks.
in the enclosed envelope will enable
you to maintain that high
you have always enjoyed.
collect, of course
to our sales department will bring a trained
of our staff to give
you an estimate,
no obligation to you.
A direct question constitutes a good close because
reader a specific query to consider and to answer.
have an interview with you at your convenience? above address or Fairmount 4289.
Are you willing to give Blanco Fuel a lo-day trial to let it demonstrate in your home its efficiency and economy? Your signature on the enclosed card will bring you a lo-day supply without cost. May I have 10 minutes in
which to substantiate these statements?
jeopardize your credit rating for so small an
The most ineffective
the participial ending. It
weak, hackneyed, incomplete in
incentive to action because
thought, and offers no eliminates the possibility of takits
"Thanking you in advance" and "Trusting we shall have your cooperation in this matter" are the products of the same type of mind as that which begins the letter with the incomplete "Referring to yours of October Such closes can always be changed into direct statements, 15." as "We shall hope to hear from you soon" or "We appreciate
in this matter."
the use of the
MAKING LETTERS EASY TO READ
tude, these closes can be transformed into direct incentives to
WORDINESS IN THE LETTER
Invariably, the worst fault in the letters of inexperienced writers is an excessive wordiness. The scientist, Pascal, in a
postscript to a 2o-page letter written in, 1656, said: "I you will pardon me for writing such a long letter, but
tains a real truth.
not have time to write you a shorter one." This paradox conshort, well-organized letter takes more time than a discursive, repetitious one, because an effective let-
thought and a willingness to spend enough time to words and ideas. No quality that the correspondent can possess is more valuable in improving his letters than a readiness to revise them. learft by our own errors, and by correcting them we can improve most rapidly. The writer who spends the necessary time going over his letters in a sincere effort to better them will soon be writing more directly and with less wasted effort. There are a few
tricks he will
whole clause can be expressed
be pleased with this clock which
be pleased with this attractive and depend-
This service, which
any charge what-
of our customers.
This free service
Rearranging a sentence will frequently make
Sign the enclosed card and drop
Sign and mail the enclosed card today.
EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS
Its point is Its point
of metal and
of unbreakable metal.
Careful choice of words often results in greater simplicity and
must, therefore, keep each method of paying our salesmen a matter of information to be known only to
improved, with one word replacing the
must, therefore, keep each method of paying our salesmen confidential.
to attain directness of expression than constant revision. The examples above, all taken from ac-
no other way
tual business letters,
show how much may be accomplished by The writer should ask himself, "Have I said this as
his letters until
as possible?" If he is willing to change this standard, he need have no con-
cern about wordiness.
have been discussing the de-
sirable qualities of business letters in general;
now we are ready
go on to some of the problems of such
specific types of let-
ters as inquiries, claims, collection, sales, and application. But of letter to be written, the general of the exact
regardless type thus far discussed qualities
and the techniques mentioned
integral part of it. By way of a brief summary of these opening chapters, we might insist that the writer of any business letterthat message
recipient to some action or attithe following things:
Before writing, analyze what
to do. (Chapter I)
that the letter attempts
MAKING LETTERS EASY TO READ
which will be most effective in influencing the reader to do what the letter writer desires.
Use the you attitude, which influences the reader to do a certain thing or take a definite point of view because
to his advantage. the letter to the reader's interests
tone or "personality." Select the appropriate form of the letter and see that the letter is correct in such details as letterhead, stationery,
letter a natural
grammar, spelling, and punctuation. (Chapter Avoid Business Jargon. (Chapter III)
the letter as easy to read as possible. (Chapter IV) Keep the paragraphs short.
paragraph say something directly and
everything necessary has been
Avoid wordiness. Revise the letter wherever
What changes would make
the following letters easier to read?
Dear Mr. Byers:
is in reply to your letter of October 12, 1947, in which you said were interested in the details of how to use insulation to make you your house warmer in the winter months. We appreciate your inter-
of other customers of
and we hope we can be of service to you as we have to thousands who have solved the same problem by the use
Warmtex Insulation. The enclosed booklet entitled "A Warmer Winter for You" will show you how Warmtex Insulation is installed and how its cost may be estimated as well as how you may estimate your
basis of the savings of our thousands
of other customers.
and enjoys what seems to us to be a profitable business. . The consensus of opinion among each and every one of us in the New York office. he pays his obligations to us rather promptly. Mr.70 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS our representative in your terriMr. Whitney: Referring to yours of July 10. Wilson: for inquiring about the possibility of becoming our agent in your territory. Thank you We are sending under separate cover our prospectus which outlines the opportunities. Pittsfield. payments fell somewhat in arrears. Sincerely yours. You can call him at Pittsfield tory. Dear Mr. and during that time. Willoughby Murch as a credit risk. which is available without any charge of any kind to all of our dealers. have been entirely satisfactory. We shall be glad to count you We hope you will get in touch with among our thousands of customers. b. Smails. J. for our part. In reply we wish to state that Mr. is that this territory offers fine prospects. 4327-M. is sent with the hope that you will read it carefully so as to profit from the experience of our other agents all over America. at Liberty ville. Smails. but when Mr. We hope this answers all the questions you asked. we believe. This prospectus. we can say so.. Murch conducts The Feed and Grain Supply Co. and sales methods of our various agents in all parts of the country. duties. N. As you undoubtedly know. Murch took active control again this situation was changed for the better. Mass. Revise the following letter to : make it as concise and direct as possible Dear Mr. to which your letter was referred. at least. 2. W. at least. illness forced him to turn over the management of his business to a son-in-law. Sincerely yours. Y. Murch has been a customer of ours for many years and our business relations. Thank you again for your inquiry. We appreciate your interest and we hope you will arrange to see Mr. in which you asked our opinion of Mr. About five years ago.
4.MAKING LETTERS EASY TO READ Thank you its 71 again for your kind expression of interest in our company and product. Julian Santee's car. to state that we hear from May 4. this order will be shipped within the next three days. We expect you to send us your check by April 30 because we have bills of our own that must be met. letter to convince a junior executive that your c. and we sincerely hope that you will fill out. As per your instructions. Sincerely yours. This to acknowledge your favor of beg as d. and return the contract blank which is also being sent to you under separate cover.19 for automotive repairs which you have he should enroll in made on Mr. Revise the following opening and closing paragraphs to effective: a. outline what you would do in each of these a. I am sure that you will enjoy representing us in what we believe to be a fine territory. any information you may care to Thanking you in advance for send. By using a short phrase to summarize the material that should be included in each paragraph of the finished letter. the undersigned will await your favor eagerly and when he is in receipt of the questionnaires from all the companies will send e. sign. you a comprehensive analysis which should prove useful to you. . Acknowledging receipt of your letter of February 27. college's evening course in Business Correspondence. Since file. A request to an official in the company where you have just been employed that he rent his house to you and your wife during his two months' vacation. I have your letter of April 12 at hand and wish to advise that at the present time there are no vacancies in our accounting division although there is some possibility that a vacancy will occur within a few months. shipment will be by express collect. we keep each and every applicant's letter on you is will undoubtedly hear from us along these lines at an early date. Thank you again. letters: A A letter to collect $37. and in reply would for credit will be considered as soon your request your references. 3. c. b. make them more b.
you can save blank money by b. I want you to know that we have missed your former visits to our store because it has been such a long time since it has been our pleasure to see you. EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS A request to the Dean to substitute a different course for of your college asking that you be permitted Economics III in which you have been enrolled for one week. We are sending in today's mail our latest catalogue of electrical appliances which you requested recently. With prices on electrical appliances due for a rise within the next few months. We hope you will find it as helpful and informative as thousands of our customers already have.72 d. the on page 41 a description of our latest model Economiser. we can make delivery within two weeks of your order. electric stove. At this time of the year. We know you that you will wish to protect your credit rating. 6. Since we are now in full production of this type of stove. which incorporates the newest techniques in design and construction. 1 can only say at this time that we shall have to take more time to search. The Economiser carries a fivewill notice You year guarantee against any defect in workmanship or materials. Rewrite the following sentences to make them less wordy: a. make an investigation and to carry on the necessary re- . acting now. Indicate how you would break the following material into paragraphs for a business letter: a. c. inform you that we cannot now sent us. 6. we suggest that payment notice that your account is be made immediately so that be listed among those considered in arrears. Please return this letter with your check for $120 in the enclosed convenient enwill not velope. A convenient order is enclosed in our catalogue. our certified public accountants are mak- ing preparations for their annual audit of our books and analysis of the condition of accounts. At the present moment we must express our regret at having to fill the order which you so kindly In response to your valued communication which was dated February 2. Since we overdue. 5.
we want to take this opportunity to thank you for your patronage and to express our appreciation for your interest in our company and its products. for the man who accounts. but it was intended for experts in the field of statistics. . his company. not only dangerous to our hope of expansion in the next year but also renders it practically impossible for us to enlarge the scope of our or- in my ganization. if I may express a personal opinion. or for the man on the street. with Christmas and the start of the new year close at hand. a thorough survey of all the milk consumers in a certain Middle Western city. We made a day. or for the average man. As the end of the year approaches. This complete and definitive work was not written for laymen. and. own Our each and every wish is to assist our customers in every way possible. in short. This situation to which you referred is in your letter of September 16 judgment. 73 This new manual was written for the man who practices accounting. or anyone else.MAKING LETTERS EASY TO READ d. soon be opened close to yours. h. and it was found that the average daily consumption of milk per family in that city was less than two quarts g. and to render every possible service so that /. for the individual who runs his own business. . for anyone who keeps financial records for himself.. keeps his e. to help them with those difficult problems which they have trouble in solving themselves. You will undoubtedly be interested to know that it has come to our attention through channels that we are unable to divulge because they are confidential that a rival photographic studio will i. we may both prosper mutually.
These letters are of two kinds: depending upon whether the writer takes the initiative in making the inquiry. Orders Among business is the types of letters most frequently received in on the letter of inquiry. V Answers to Inquiries. It should be very brief. the construction of various models or the uses to which each may be put. a mention of the advertising medium in which the suggestion to write appeared is approare typical: priate. without any suggestion from infinite one of an number whom he writes.CHAPTER Inquiries. The two types are the person or firm to tive known as: 1. Such a letter seeks information such varied matters as the operation of machinery. 2. or any of similar subjects. The following examples nitely . The unsolicited letter of inquiry in which the writer takes the initiative in asking for information. . the price of certain products. Usually. and should state defiResulting as what is wanted. the solicited inquiry presents no difficulties. The Solicited Inquiry it does from a specific suggestion. usually no longer than one or two sentences. which is usually a response to an advertisement inviting the reader to write in The for further information to a certain department or division. the details of financing. or whether the initiacomes from advertising and similar sources suggesting that he write for more detailed information. solicited letter of inquiry.
Sidney. Howard Polk Miller Products Corporation Department 52-G Richmond. Virginia Bartlett Gentlemen : In accordance with your offer in Life for July 14. I am particularly interested in a model which would be adequate for the needs of an office force of 22 people. Advertisers testify unanimously to . ANSWERS TO INQUIRIES. 1947. Dog Book to me at 2719 Park Street. Seattle. Robert Black The General Air Conditioning Company 37541 Broadway Bennington. Wash- Yours truly. Sincerely yours. bedrooms which you advertised Sincerely yours. I am particularly interested in the air-conditioning unit for in last week's Liberty. George Marshall The inquirer should be careful to include his address if he uses paper without a letterhead. ORDERS 75 Company Jersey New me Gentlemen : Kindly send eral Electric information about the various models and prices of Gen- Water Coolers and about your Five Year Service Protection Agreement which you advertised in a recent issue of the Saturday Evening Post.INQUIRIES. General Electric Division 583 Bloomfield. West Virginia Gentlemen : Please send a copy of your booklet "Cooler and Healthier Houses This Summer" to me at 378 Market Street. please send a free copy of Sergeant's ington. New York.
if the inquiry as direct and specific by tabulating the questions or by using an arrangement in which they may be answered by "yes" or "no" or by checking. A clear statement of the information desired or of the problem involved. to give the reader sufficient information to enable him to answer intelligently and easily. he should all else beyond to make is his inquiry easy to answer. This can best be done by making the question as possible or. writer of an unlengthy. No solicited letter of inquiry should expect a complete stranger to spend several hours answering questions of a general nature. But. depending upon the amount of information desired. he must phrase his queries so carefully that answering them will require the shortest possible time. instead. Letters which request credit data or opinions about applicants for positions should always promise to keep the information confidential. Why it is wanted . What is wanted b. Courtesy demands that a stamp or a self-addressed. if it is sent to a large company with its own mailing department. stamped envelope should be if the inquiry is addressed to an individual or to a small firm. the well-planned unsolicited inquiry usually contains: i. The letter may vary somewhat. The Unsolicited Inquiry The more strive unsolicited inquiry letter is more complex and much detailed. Since the writer is asking a favor.76 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS be-> the large number of requests which can never be granted cause writers forget to include addresses. Who wants it c. the stamp should not be included because it will enclosed probably interfere with the regular mailing routine. This should include: a.
promise to 4. 3. therefore. giving complete information about themselves. Phrase them so that they are clear. Where keep it confidential information confidential. Does a member of your personnel department regularly visit colleges in this area to interview seniors for positions? Yes 2. and easy to answer. stress the way in which the recipient will benefit by answering the questions. Bryant: The Ohio Division of the Association of College Placement Advisers is making a survey to collect data bearing upon the best technique for college seniors to use in finding their first positions and becoming oriented Our purpose is to ease the transiin them. an unsolicited inquiry should: To insure getting the maximum amount of information from his letter. The accompanying letter to Mr. few questions as possible. Try to send the inquiry at those seasons is when the pres- sure of business least heavy. An expression of appreciation. as Ask direct. is requested. ANSWERS TO INQUIRIES. 2.INQUIRIES. No Would you prefer to have seniors write to you. We are. ORDERS 77 A tabulation of questions or a reference to an enclosed questionnaire. 3. tion from college to the first job. Bryant is a good example of obtain infor- how unsolicited letters of inquiry may be used to mation: Dear Mr. 2. asking several hundred personnel men in this area to check their answers to the following questions: 1. or would you prefer to have them come to talk to you first? . the writer of 1. 5. If possible.
which we hope will be helpful to you in comparing the attitudes of your own company with those of others in this area. Do you find young college men you have recently hired to be untrained in any of the following: Technique of interviewing? Knowledge of business procedure? Ability to write reports and letters? Ability to organize work efficiently? At what monthly salary do you start college men in their first jobs? (This will be kept in strict confidence. Secretary . Does your organization have any kind of training school or course to acquaint young college graduates with the details of your business? Yes No 4. $125 6. The Ohio Division of the Association of College Placement Advisers will be very grateful to you for your cooperation in answering We expect to publish the these questions. $150 $175 $200 $225 If you have any suggestions that may help us give better training to college students or that bear upon the technique of getting oriented in their first jobs. Ohio Division Charles Conrad. only the average of all answers to this question will be published. results of this survey and will send you a copy of our complete report. The Association of College Placement Advisers. please write them on the reverse side of this letter.78 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS application letter I prefer interview 3.) Check the amount closest to your firm's salary: 5. Sincerely yours. The enclosed envelope is stamped and addressed for your convenience in replying.
. check the "Didn't Know" box. If a fact is old stuff to you. That's story. ANSWERS TO INQUIRIES. stamped envelope make it easy to answer. ORDERS 79 a letter should elicit a large percentage of replies because the phrasing of the questions and the enclosed self-addressed. Dear Mr. Here's our problem Every business has certain fundamentals which must be gotten over to the public. placed the facts about air express before thousands more. Quite aside from the value of questionnares in obtaining in- use of the you be used in impressing a sales story on readers. The following letter sent by the Air Express division of the Railway Express Agency is a remarkable example of this. Ky. it Mr. Then a check is made and they wake up to find they were wrong. The folder enclosed contains a series of brief facts about air express each one boiled down to the utmost to save your time. Doe: May we perhaps ask a favor of you one that will take only a few minutes and may ultimately benefit brief points in the enclosed folder : you? and returning It consists it simply of checking the to us. with a very how you can help us. the value of this survey to the reader is clearly indicated. by the Such attitude in the final paragraph. For we're writing to representative business people like yourself to determine what success we've had in making people aware of the basic features of the Air Express is factual story. Joe Doe 100 Doe Street Doeville.000 peois formation the fact that they may also elicited a response from 2 1 per cent and. more important.INQUIRIES. Furthermore. certainly isn't. simply check the little "Did Know" box to the right of the statement. If it's news to you. Sent with a questionnaire to 105. your firm no exception and Air Express. Undoubtedly. They're facts which are mentioned consistently in promotional material so consistently that often a firm believes that they've registered their story and they stop featuring basic points. ple.
and the better will we be able to check the success of past efforts and guide our future educational work." we are responsible hands. When it you've finished checking the folder. invoices. please be good enough to enclose in the self-addressed. and not an "advertising stunt. There's no charge or Cordially yours. As this is really a research project anxious to place it in along with other material dealing with modern business methods. title of the proper person. The letter shown below demonstrates a a problem of keeping inquiry: Gentlemen : mailing list active good solution to the by an easy-to-answer We'd in like to mail a special portfolio of manufacturing forms to the person your organization who is most responsible for the methods you use in writing. so that it will be filed for reference By jotting down the name and its organization improve obligation. receiving records. That's because we're only seeking answers we're trying to gauge public opinion. of course. bills of lading.8o EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS You'll notice that there's no space for your signature in the folder. Sincerely yours. The more answers we get. you can help your methods of handling records. and supervising office and factory records. This portfolio is a handy filing folder containing actual samples of forms being used by manufacturers whose problems are similar to yours factory orders. And thanks for your cooperation. Name Position Our business is . routing. postage-paid reply envelope and return it to us. and the like. the more representative will be our results.
ANSWERS TO INQUIRIES. lacked imagination and foresight. Such being written. 107. regards inquiry letters as so imis portant in building sales that each of its correspondents given a copy of the following instructions: 1." Answer him first and let your local agents follow it up. it will be in One progressive company spite of his letter.INQUIRIES. 4. Size up the needs of the prospect and answer his inquiry in terms of the advantage of our product to him. but if he does. and then follow up with another Keep on writing at regular intervals as long as the . Strike while the iron is hot! Give inquiries the right of all all way over 2. Answer inquiries the same day they are received. 3. a reasonable amount of time it for an order or a let- reply to come in. other correspondence. We are sending it you and hope it may be useful. Usually. but the great majority of businessmen now realize that the letter of inquiry represents an opportunity to make a sale or to build good will. even to solicited letters came to them of inquiry. he may make a letters are still sale. The writer of the above letter reveals no such conception. You will find an order blank inside the back page to assist you in getting the items you may want. Don't make him wait for information while you refer him to "local representatives" or "branch offices. Sincerely yours. Allow ter. they an- swered inquiries Dear Sir: in the following manner: We to appreciate your request for our Catalogue No. at best. Their answers. as trivial matters requiring routine treatment. ORDERS gl ANSWERS TO INQUIRY LETTERS Formerly. businessmen regarded the letters of inquiry thai as a nuisance or.
Note the air of helpfulness in the following letter as contrasted with the one above: Dear Mr. . all without obligation fuel savings. As a graduate engineer. Vaughan can give you exact figures on costs. however. you will be interested in the description on pages 23 and 24 of the simple particularly technique by which Blanktex Insulation can make older homes as snug and As the owner of a home which was not warm as those with original insulation. 69 Main Street. Pennsylvania (Phone Diamond 3109). you will Vaughan. Our heating expert in your territory is Mr. if the letter Answers merely grants the request fective in a routine fashion. originally insulated.82 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS percentage of returns from similar follow-ups makes profitable. Mr. Robert After you have read this booklet. which has friends." which you requested on October 15. they show how program places on answering inquir- Granting a Request to inquiries may be grouped in two general catethose granting requests and those refusing requests. letters it will be inef- compared to modern which use each opportu- nity to build sales or good will. emphasis the sales good advice. Scranton. Vaughan can make this winter the warmest you have spent in your home. You will want to read on pages 37-41 the unsolicited statements by satisfied users of Blanktex Insulation proving that as much as 20 per cent of the annual heating cost can be saved by our modern methods. Thompson: We are sending you our booklet " Modern Insulation for Older Homes. Yours truly. won us thousands of warm undoubtedly have questions pertaining specifically to the insulation of your home. it These instructions are not only much ies. and similar facts regarding your home on your part. gories: The first type is obviously the simpler. A card or phone call to Mr.
Its writer properly uses an answer to a letter of inquiry as the first step in making a sale. Eighty per cent of the dealers their inquiries. easily installed in cars. You will find our compass advertised monthly in the country's leading publications. and a new ready market is being created by the millions of men returning from the services who are entirely familiar with the splendid results obtained by using our compass under all conditions. or night driving.INQUIRIES. and can be sold with confidence everywhere. HULL AUTOMOBILE COMPASSES are dependable always. . The demand for the HULL AUTOMOBILE COMPASS is constantly increasing. including: ESQUIRE FIELD & STREAM SPORTS AFIELD HOLIDAY SATURDAY EVENING POST POPULAR MECHANICS HUNTING & FISHING SCIENCE & MECHANICS TRUE OUTDOOR LIFE POPULAR SCIENCE The HULL AUTOMOBILE COMPASS is a necessary It is sturdily built. fog. in design. ORDERS with its 83 The tone of this letter references to specific pages of the requested booklet makes it an effective sales emissary. Gentlemen: Your recent letter requesting information regarding the new HULL AUTOMOBILE COMPASS is very much appreciated . guaranteed against defective material and workmanship. in rain. You will find attached to this letter a folder that gives you a comprehensive description of the HULL AUTOMOBILE COMPASS and a dealer catalogue sheet listing our regular wholesale prices to the trade. attractive automobile accessory. ANSWERS TO INQUIRIES. snow. its who received the answer to orders. Hundreds of thousands were used by our armed forces during the war. placed accomplishes skillful use purpose by giving complete information and by of the you attitude. it shown below. Every day we receive letters from owners of HULL AUTOMOBILE COMPASSES indicating complete satisfaction and stating they are outstanding in performance. and they operate in tropical and sub-zero temperatures. sleet.
the tone of the letter should be tactful and helpful. The refusal of an inquiry usually follows this pattern: 1 . to the inquirer for his inter- 2. of course. make a constructive suggestion in the closing paragraph to be of service in the future. or offer possible. Wherever possible. But whatever the de- of the situation. govern the amount of detail included in the refusal. no constructive suggestion can be included.84 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS There's never a doubt when you drive a car equipped with a genuine HULL AUTOMOBILE COMPASS that ''East is East and West is West. Regardless of how thoughtless the request may seem." May we hear from you? Very truly yours. The individual circumstances of each request and the person who makes it will. the intelligent technique is to refuse it tactfully. an explanation of why the request must be refused. A harsh refusal may ill antagonize a potential customer or develop a source of will toward a company. apology. Many of the requests or inquiries that are made of businessmen are inconsiderate or unreasonable. A statement of appreciation est. This is especially necessary when the request tails . even when the request is refused. "company policy" or similar generalities. in others. but the answers to these requests should never be brusque. refusal of a request is one of the more difficult types of Great tact and courtesy must be used if the reader is not to be antagonized. If it is convenient. Refusing a Request The letters. avoid vague terms like If 4. In many instances there need be no elaborate explanation of the reason for the refusal. A refusal of his request without hedging and without 3.
It is my hope that you will not consider this refusal an uncooperative act on our part and that our pleasant business relationship may continue in the future. ORDERS from such 85 comes from a friend. I might say that our system of remuneration has been very successful and our salesmen are completely satisfied with it. Mr.INQUIRIES. J. or a good customer. We are flattered that so successful a businessman should ask our advice. I regret that I cannot let you have this information because confidential reports have a way of getting out. What is the best way to refuse Mr. us assume that Mr. Smith's booklet entitled it Up a Sales Organization" we have found invaluable in its prac- . the a source would follow in detail illustrate the application To of this outline. Dear Mr. Miller: Thank you for the interest expressed in your letter of April 12 concerning the way in which we pay our salesmen. We regret that we cannot men works under an individual contract. divulge this information. you will understand why we. . Because our employees themselves have requested this secrecy. ANSWERS TO INQUIRIES. Miller has written to you asking for information concerning the basis on which you pay your salesmen and you must refuse his request. Very truly yours. refusal of a request the outline above. is new business which is similar to yours but will not in any way. Sir: letter of April Miller? Notice the contrast in the point letters: of view of the following Dear I have your 1 2 asking about the basis on which we pay our salesmen. opening a compete with you Lawrence Miller. let an acquaintance. Since each of our saleswe would be violating the confi- dence of our employees if the terms of these contracts were given out. You undoubtedly "Setting are already familiar with E. cannot comply with your request. a customer of yours.
Such a refusal needs no more than an expression of regret. it is aggravating in its teasing tone of "our system of remuneration has been very successful" but we can't divulge it. ORDERS AND ANSWERS TO ORDERS That there is room for originality and humor even is in the prosaic business of acknowledging orders illustrated by the following exchange between a customer and one of America's largest mail-order companies. nothing is honest. is tactful. and if it's any good. please feel free to your new venture. if To which Dear Sir: the company replied: Please send us the check. The second letter. We want to offer our best wishes for success in continue. we may be of assistance to you in some other way. sincere. by contrast. The former wrote: Gents : Please send it's me any good I'll one of them gasoline engines you show on page 785 and send you a check for it. It might prove very tical suggestions for dealing useful to If you at the present time. it is almost insulting in its thoughtless suggesfirst letter is tion that the reader cannot be trusted "confidential reports have a way of getting out".86 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS with specific problems. and as constructive as possible. such as hoping "you will not consider this refusal an uncooperative act". along with the hope that our pleasant business relationship with you may write us. Its reader cannot help feeling that the explanation excessive apologies. we'll send you the engine. Sincerely yours. The completely negative with its wrong emphasis. .
a letter of At such a time. acknowledgment may appropriately be written. ORDERS 87 Under more normal circumstances. The following letter illustrates how this outline may be ap- plied: Dear Mr. ANSWERS TO INQUIRIES. it though will usually contain: 1. most companies follow a definite procedure in acknowledging orders. being shipped. service because we want you you informed on style trends and We hope you will use this that our customers* interests and ours are identical. for your order of is March 19 for 20 spring coats and suits. . Sincerely yours. Althe sequence of parts in such a letter can be varied.INQUIRIES. Letters acknowledging orders are usually of a routine nature. however. Since almost every firm has its own order blank. Your customers will find our styles original. A reference to the order and a statement of how it is 2. A statement of appreciation. This merchandise being shipped by express today and should reach you by We are particularly happy to welcome you as a customer because our wide selection of smart models for spring is especially designed to appeal to the fashionable trade. A brief sales message on the quality of service you expect to render or an expression of interest in the customer's needs. Gardner: Thank you Friday. 3. yet inex- Our staff of designers is available to keep to feel to aid you in selecting up-to-the-minute fashions. there is little necessity for dwelling upon the form of the order itself. pensive. except when the order is the first one from a new customer or an unusually large order from an old customer.
but it is closely allied to the acknowledgment of an order. for a number You may be of years and have always sure that we will do our best Congratulations on your new position. The executives who wrote the following letters will certainly reap untold good will from a very small investment by letting old customers know that their orders and pahis patronage. Jenks for the fine order that came in this morning. . tronage are appreciated. This is natural. but this one makes us especially happy because it represents our first dealing with you. Naturally. and they write letters expressing their appreciation for This type of letter is usually called a business promotion letter. Please call on us any time. most businessmen spend more time and money welcoming new accounts than they devote to their old customers who are the very backbone of their business.88 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS When a new a is with which lent letter purchasing agent is appointed in a company Chicago firm does business. the following excel- sent to acknowledge an order and to build good will with the new man: : Dear Mr. If we can make your job easier or help you in any way where our products are concerned. to keep it that way. new business. Thank you We've done business with your firm enjoyed a friendly relationship. Byers BEFORE a man marries : He'll send the girl flowers and take her to the theater in a taxi. we want to do so. we always appreciate orders. since growth is measured largely in terms of Paradoxically. Progressive companies realize. perhaps. Sincerely yours. Dear Mr. however. that the steady customer is the bedrock upon which business success is built.
INQUIRIES. Folks earth. So this is just to tell you that we appreciate and thank you for your business and for your promptness in paying our invoices. for instance. Sincerely yours. up smile and say "Thank you. And why tion. Bell: who buy steadily and pay their bills promptly are the salt of the bills. In fact. should it when there are so not be just as essential that we express our appreciamany who order spasmodically and then neglect their folks like payments? These folks get plenty of letters upbraiding them. believe a firm should that's why we Not to sell you but to tell you it's always a real pleasure to serve you. but you who order and pay regularly nary a word. a lot like that. Dear Mr. the Cash and Carry in a 24-pound sack. And then the best he gets is We tell a customer that his trade is appreciated. . much to make a man a customer. for granted that we forget to say we take so many things "Thank you. Goodwin: When a friend helps us on with a coat. picks we it we drop something and someone with gratitude. we practically burst But it is strange that when we get into business." Take old customers like you. Customers like you are essential to the success of our business. Dear Mr. Strange? Not at all. ANSWERS TO INQUIRIES. she has to lug Firms spend an invoice. Cordially yours. And are writing you this letter to tell you how much we appreciate the steady flow of orders you've sent us during the past year. they help us keep our business on an even keel help us pay our help us get real fun out of our work." If for us. ORDERS And gg it AFTER Business home from is the only "flour" she gets is Gold Medal.
The Better Business . New York. For that reason." The text is new friends but to keep old ones. Write to the Big Indian Mountain Club. Many a sermon you to has been preached go with him a mile. telling you how much we appreciate your order. "If a man ask go with him twain. wanted to write you personally. 2. Chicago. its monthly report to subscribers. the student should learn to apply these principles to the first The specialized problems described. In the exercises in this chapter and taining those following. these last two letters succeed. Illihas requested permission to publish your series of collection letters in nois. EXERCISES four chapters of this book present the general principles perto all types of effective letters. 1. and saying "Thank you" for your confidence in us. applicable to the whole subject of letter writing. 3700 Michigan Avenue. Before attempting to write the letters with these specialized situations. I just Very truly yours. whom you you may have a slight take in order Service. Write refusing the request because you believe that publishing the letters would destroy their originality. which goes "the second mile" where others stop with the routine "first mile. on summer homes advertised Write a letter to a personnel manager with acquaintance asking for advice on the best training to get into personnel work. requesting the booklet The New Yorker of August 2. this will insure a careful analysis of what he wants his letter to do before he actually starts to write.9o EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS You did something pretty important for us important because we think so much of your business that it gives us a great deal of pleasure to see it grow. they reflect a policy which is designed not only to win on the text. 25 West 45th Street. New in York." is the really effective message. 3. The letter which goes beyond routine. 1947. the student should prepare a brief dealing outline or notation of the points he wishes to make in each letter.
you have written to several companies asking for information about the subject of your thesis. 431 East 25th Street. despite the fact that they have been buying from a competitor for years. credits. Boston. you want information about the products manufac5. the weekly pay rolls. Harry Wilson. we are. ANSWERS TO INQUIRIES. the labor conditions. Your salesman in the New England area has finally persuaded the White Company. Write a letter to accompany your booklet "Cruises on the Great Lakes" which has been requested by Mr.19. Write an appropriate letter to acknowledge this first order for automotive parts amounting to $371. 8. As a college senior. Write to the proper officer of the university open inquiring about the fees. 7. hours. and contents of a specific course you are interested in taking. Compile an appropriate letter of inquiry. 217 Commonwealth Avenue. 9. Sincerely yours. and the reasons why each of the industries chose your locality.INQUIRIES. to place an order with you. ORDERS 9I 4. Hoping you will find the information you need. Criticize the following refusal The of your inquiry and write what you consider a better letter: Dear Sir: In reply to your request of November i. Among other things. A business school student has written you requesting specific information concerning the courses he might take in his last year in order to obtain a position in your advertising department. Cuyahoga Falls. you are compiling material for a bulletin designed to attract new industries to your locality. Chamber of Commerce. university in your city is offering a number of extension courses to the general public. Refuse the request because you don't want to commit your firm to hiring anyone until your personnel representative has visited the business school. would say that we cannot help you in solving the problem on which you are working. Massachusetts. . Ohio. As secretary for your local tured by the companies already located in your city. Tours from three days to two weeks range in price from $42. 6. the number of employees.50 to $200.
She has furnished you with a list of 350 of write a letter to them attempting to find out what advertis. 1 6.. radio. N. 12. but it must also give sales material on the services offered by your agency. In his letter accompanying the order. write requesting complete information. whose advertising is handled by your agency. Mr. Perth Amboy.92 10. The questionnaire will be sent to the presidents of large companies located in small towns within a so-mile radius of your city. magazine. 379 East Main Street. Criticize the following answer to a letter of inquiry: . 15. the various companies prefer. or direct mail some Write an appropriate acknowledgment to The Wm. for a $400 order. this is the twenty-fifth year our company has purchased its garden supplies and seeds from you. As student chairman of your state's Interfraternity Conference. Write refusing the request on the basis that the new magnet is still in the experimental stage is not yet ready for commercial application.." 11. EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS Your first assignment as junior is member of the new accounts depart- ment of an advertising agency to compile a questionnaire to go out over your superior's signature. 13. we want you to know that our customers have expressed complete satisfaction with your products over that long period. has complained that the advertisements in the metropolitan daily newspapers are not bringing adequate her customers ing returns to justify their expense. You have heard a radio commentator mention that the General Electric Research Laboratories have developed a new and infinitely more powerful magnet than that previously in use. ''Incidentally. 14. Peabody remarked. Your superior has told you that the questionnaire must be organized to find out what medium of advertising newspaper. Since this magnet would be of great value in your electrical repair shop. J. you must report on the degree of control exercised by officers college administrative over fraternity social functions. The proprietor of a very exclusive millinery establishment. The letter mentioned in the previous you and as one of the research workers problem has been referred to on the project. medium would be most effective. Write a letter which might appro- priately be sent to the administrative officers of the colleges in your state to obtain this information. Peabody Co.
Kentucky.95 write Mrs. 76 State r has sent you $12. we send herewith our brochure entitled "Selecting a Piano for the Home" with the hope that it may prove useful to you. truly yours. Parker: ANSWERS TO INQUIRIES. As the student manager of your letter of inquiry. C. Hoping that you will see fit to discuss this matter with Mr. You are now planning your program for the next school year. and suggest that she go there to select the exact style of pressure cooker she desires. There is no charge for this service. . write an acknowledgment of the sells photoorder from The Acme Photo Shop. church groups. James S. 1970 Broadway.INQUIRIES. Mrs. write a with tabulated questions. and whether such facilities as projectors and amplifiers would be available. to be sent to 150 clubs. ORDERS 93 In compliance with your request of November i. Since your company sells only through dealers. how large an audience might be expected. we would suggest that you consult Mr. and one an item on which you cannot guarantee delivery in less than six months. Write to the city editor of the daily newspaper that you read and ask his advice on the best preparation for such a career and on the type of education that would 19. J. last year. Street. You prove most beneficial. The order consists of seven items of which four are in stock. Knox that you are forwarding her order to The Home Appliance Shop. we are. It is entirely possible that he may be of assistance to you. Worthington. Wiggers. Pennsylvania. In the event that you are interested in purchasing a Belltone Piano. Lexington. a pressure cooker which your company advertised in a national magazine. in your city. what topics they wish discussed. Your Speakers Bureau supplies student speakers for various occasions and is intended to give the students actual 20. school's Speakers Bureau. f 1 8. Worlhington. Very 17. 3174 West Oak Street. As correspondent for your wholesale company which first graphic supplies. 232 West Street. Wiggers. Knox. experience in talking before groups. two are expected is within three weeks. and other organizations. members of the Speakers Bureau presented programs before 42 groups. are interested in a career as a newspaper reporter. and your letter is intended to ascertain how many groups might be interested. Dear Mr.
Orders may be filled improperly or incompletely. the important fact is not that errors do occur but that the percentage of error is actually very small. to a willingness. The experienced businessman develops a rather tol- erant attitude toward the errors made by own not to say that he is complacent about mistakes made by his own organization nor ready to continue doing business indefinitely with those whose blunders are too numerous. such ap error occur in his own company. . misunderstandings may arise over discounts. But from his experience. goods may be damaged or unsatisfactory.CHAPTER VI Claim and Adjustment Letters "To err is human" according committed to Alexander Pope. at the is become angry and threatening as soon his as such errors associates are made. he has learned that there is an irreducible minimum of mistakes made in business. to promise other. and this knowledge prevents him from losing his temper over the mistakes of others or from promising that he will never again let this is and by others. To anyone acquainted with the complexities of modern business. The surest indi- cation of the amateur in business extreme. bills. at the one that mistakes will never occur or. and exchanges. credit terms. those written to take who must action on such claims are called adjustment letters. and the number of errors in the routine transactions of business attest the truth of Pope's words. The letters written to bring these errors to the attention of those ity for them are known take the responsibilas claim letters.
All of was no good. dishonest. false. untrue. Good manners alone should prevent such explosive reactions. Yours truly. To write an angry and accusing letter like the one above is simply to let one's emotions run away with his reason. letter like the following is all too typical: A Dear That Sir: electric refrigerator you sold so me it last week is ice cubes. the claim letter should avoid anger.CLAIM AND ADJUSTMENT LETTERS 95 THE CLAIM LETTER The from tolerant attitude just described is the correct viewpoint which the claim letter should be written. Is it likely that the dealer receives the vindictive letter above will try to be as scrupulously fair as he might otherwise be if this situation had been called to his attention without malice? Obviously not. worthless. and it makes it much that noise that my no good. You knew when you public. If for no other reason than that one stands a greater chance of getting a who reasonable adjustment by being fair. on second thought. I am sick and tired of you dealers are trying to beat the want my money back. disgusted. A little thought before writing would show that it is to the 'writer''s own advantage to be tolerant and first The sonable blunders even-tempered in bis claim letter. sarcasm. and natural reaction to stupid mistakes and unreais anger. and accusations. but. I sold to me buying from people like you. unfair. An analysis of the claim letter shows that four elements are usually present: . Claim letters lacking this tone usually originate with those unfamiliar with business. and no good. In its phrasing. we realize that ive make mistakes too. the claimant should shun such accusing terms as complaint. It won't freeze family can't sleep.
make a recheck A statement of the inconvenience or loss that has resulted this error. first Contrast the tone of the following letters with the presented in this chapter. if the writer doesn't adjustment is equitable. This explanation should give exact dates." But for those with a realistic background of experience in business such a technique is the best method of writing claims. his honesty. In that event. one . This technique will not appeal to those who believe that all business is conducted on the plane of "beat the customer before he beats you. An or any other specific information that will easier for the reader.96 1. from 3. With regard to the actual adjustment. An attempt to motivate action by appealing to the read- sense of fair play. 2. sizes. This analysis puts a premium upon specific facts rather than emotions in the claim letter. the claimant may not know exactly what he wants or what would constitute a fair settlement of the claim. he should try to stimulate prompt investigation and action. er's 4. Several surveys of department stores and retail establishments have shown that when the customer has a reasonable claim and has left its set- tlement completely up to the store. It is predicated on the assumption that the overwhelming majority of businessmen want to do the fair thing. hence. or his pride. an appeal to fairness or honesty is the best possible motivation. amounts. if only because it is good business to do so. Don't threaten him with loss of business at the first error. the adjuster will usually grant more than the customer would ask. colors. A statement of what adjustment know what is considered fair. model numbers. EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS explanation of what is wrong. because it stems from a belief on which modern American business in business is is founded that honesty the best policy. it is generally best to let the adjuster suggest a satisfactory settlement.
are. The Campus Bookstore Charles White.50 - defective after 8. Manager Gentlemen: The 15 Rubbertex Tire which I purchased on July 23 from The Standard Supply Company. Since entire A Handbook freshman will class department ? Freshman Composition was to have been used by our and since college opens on September 22. it. This past experience makes me curious to know just why this Ruhbertex Tire should wear out so rapidly. Illinois. Galesburg. Very truly yours. therefore.. Mr. 237 Broadway. I have. asked your local representative.New York. I feel certain that you will give me a new tire at a 66 per cent discount as figured on the mileage basis.000 miles of use. to replace the matter. you send us the other 200 copies immediately and that you bear the express charges on this second shipment as well as on the return of the 200 copies of Knight's Elementary Calculus.CLAIM AND ADJUSTMENT LETTERS Gentlemen : 97 On September 15 we ordered 260 copies of Brown's A Handbook of Freshman Composition from you. He has suggested that I write to you about As a user of your tires for the past ten years. therefore. Colton. our English be put to considerable inconvenience by virtue of 200 of students not having their textbooks. Harding . When this shipment arrived on September 20. 5 Park Street. Since I bought this tire while I was on a business trip in the East. I am unable to take it to the dealer from whom I purchased it. John Ostrander. I have learned at first hand about their long mileage and safety. In view of the fact that I have come to expect 24.000 miles from Rubbertex Tires and that I have been caused considerable inconvenience. asking that We Sincerely yours. Alvin C. has proved 6. we found it contained only 60 copies of Brown's book and 200 copies of Knight's Elementary Calculus.
EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS
20 Finetone Radio which I purchased at your downtown store to my home on June 5 in a very unsatisfactory
The top of the cabinet is deeply scratched, and three of the push buttons are so badly adjusted for tuning local stations as to be useless.
time the radio arrived, I should certainly have surprised that you permit delivery of merchandise in such condition, particularly since my experience in dealing with your' store for the past six years has been most satisfactory.
been at home
refused to accept
I shall expect
you to send
radio or to put this one in first-class
THE ADJUSTMENT LETTER
actually welcome claim letters and even encourage his customers to write them. Such an attitude can be explained by the fact that claim letters offer the
best possible check on the quality of service being rendered. Further than that, the discontented or dissatisfied customer who goes around telling all his friends and acquaintances that
"The Standard Supply Company
poor place to buy any-
a real liability. If he can be persuaded to write dithing" rectly to the company and thus get his troubles "off his chest," the company has an opportunity to convert a potential liability
into a booster
tells his friends,
"The Standard Supply make an error, they'll make they
good every time." Of such small elements is that intangible but invaluable quality called "good will" composed; in building it,
the adjustment letter plays an important role. Naturally, the adjustment letter will reflect the company's attitude toward claims. In general, there are three policies in
effect concerning the granting of claims:
CLAIM AND ADJUSTMENT LETTERS
always right"; therefore, all claims are granted. This policy is used by only a few firms at present who deal in expensive merchandise for an extremely reputable
"Grant adjustments wherever the claim seems fair." This by far the most widely used policy toward claims. It offers the advantage of letting each case be decided on its merits, and
avoids committing the
to a single policy regarding
"Caveat emptorT "Let the buyer beware!"
the goods and he can assume the responsibility; therefore, no claims are granted. reputable firm can afford to adopt such an unfair policy.
Unless there are peculiar problems connected with the particular business, the second policy outlined above is the most efpolicy permits him to grant a claim or not, the writer of the adjustment letter should realize
handling a delicate situation.
gruntled and probably believes sincerely that he has a very real grievance, whether he has or not. The aim of the adjuster should be to make the reader see that he is trying to be fair; yet he must steer a straight course between the two extremes of sympathizing too much with the claimant and thus making
believe that his grievance is indeed greater than he originally thought and, on the other hand, of seeming to accuse the
customer of making an unjust claim. He ought especially to avoid such phraseology as "you state" or "you claim" or "we cannot understand" because such phrases antagonize the reader; nor should he use such words as "failure," "breakdown," or "poor results" because they imply that the product has indeed failed. Instead of saying, "You claim that our heater
no good," the trained adjuster
telling us of
EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS
your experience with our heater." The language
of the adjustment letter should be carefully chosen so as not to sound argumentative or to put its reader on the defensive by
seeming to accuse him of trying to get something for nothing; instead, it should explain in a matter-of-fact way the facts of the situation. It should be expository rather than argumentative.
Granting the Adjustment
The letter granting an adjustment is usually easy to write. It should make the adjustment cheerfully and should admit the error frankly. Its ultimate purpose, if the writer thinks about
carefully, is not just to grant the adjustment but to retain the good will and the business of a disgruntled customer. This can
be done in various ways, but the following four points are
An expression of regret over the inconvenience suffered. An explanation of the cause of the error.
A statement of what adjustment
An attempt to
to be made.
These points may be arranged
tant that they should be adapted to the reader letter should sound sincere, as in the following:
ways, but it is imporand that the
Dear Mr. Middlefield
much that the radio you purchased from You have every right to expect merchandise from
and we appreciate your
us was unsatisthis store to
in perfect condition,
telling us of this experience.
effort to see that every piece of thoroughly inspected before it is sent out. Unfortunately, your radio was not inspected because of the negligence of one of our
Our shipping department makes every
CLAIM AND ADJUSTMENT LETTERS
on Thursday we
expect to receive another shipment of Finetone Radios tomorrow, and shall send you a new radio to replace the one you have.
appreciated. and, for that reason,
of our store during the past six years has been greatly want you to know that we value your friendship highly,
we wish to make each transaction satisfactory to you. we hope you will inform us, as you did this time, so that we
may make an
frankly admitting that a mistake has been made, the next letter carries an air of sincerity which renders it effective:
Dear Mr. Gaston:
have just learned of the unfortunate error which we made
account. I particularly appreciate the fairness of your attitude concerning
an experience which must have been annoying.
have taken every precaution to see that such a mistake does not occur We want you to know that we are especially sorry that we have
this slip with
one of our best customers.
friendly tone of the next letter, together with its recognition of the fact that errors will occur in the best managed
business, goes far
a friendly relationship:
Dear Mr. Woodside:
I am sorry we blundered on your order. Maybe if I could handle every order myself, we wouldn't make so many mistakes, but, of course, I have been in this business for forty-seven years and might be expected to know more than a clerk who has been with us only thirty-five days.
Some of our people have been with us for twenty-five and thirty years, but even they slip up once in a while. I suppose the penalty of bigness is that mistakes are bound to be made. If we made only one mistake out of a
thousand orders, we would make several hundred mistakes. This may seem like a lot, but the percentage would be very, very small. Naturally, the one person in the thousand on whose order we did make a mistake thinks we
a mistake on the other 999 too, which
not the case.
EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS
you could send us 999 more orders and every one of them would
go through without the slightest hitch. The law of averages your favor! Won't you put the law and us to the test?
When a major error was made by a printing company,
lowing letter saved the situation by its frank admission of error and its willingness to grant whatever adjustment the customer
Dear Mr. Carlson:
wish this were a letter I didn't have to write you. Not for fear of the as I propose to do whatever you suggest, but because a friend of outcome,
I'm terribly sorry that you feel as you do about the print job, although I admit we "pulled a boner." They say that ignorance of the law is no excuse. And, after the crime is committed, it is too late to feel sorry about
are the judge.
very bad about the mistake and admits his error. Realizing nothing can be done about it now, I'll be glad to give you whatever allowance you feel is necessary, even to the point of rerunning the job. I want to be fair.
here on, the case rests in your hands.
Refusal of Adjustment
Much more difficult is the refusal of an adjustment, which may be defined as any letter that does not grant the original claim. A partial adjustment may be made, but if it does not
the request, from the customer's viewpoint it is a refusal of adjustment. The correspondent who is fre-
quently called upon to refuse claims might well take as his text the Biblical injunction that "a soft answer turneth away
no better advice for the
refusal of adjustment.
therefore. which was sent on to us by your local dealer.50 agree that you should expect more than 8. Our service department has carefully examined your tire. 3. reader by 2. you will have no further difficulty of this kind.000 miles for Rubbertex Tires under normal conditions" still holds. does not fall within the scope of this guarantee. and you will be will notice from the illustration. But your tire. Because we want you to know the miles of carefree service that Rubbertex we are willing to bear a portion of your loss by offering at a 20 per cent discount.000 miles of service from the . a tial 4. To make this as clear as possible. probably without your even knowing it.15 Rubbertex Tire that you wrote us about on September 3. By following the suggestions given in the part we have marked with red pencil. the claim letter on page 97 requesting tire might be answered as follows: Dear Mr. Looking at this situation from your point of view.50 . shows a tire greatly pleased with the increased mileage you will receive. Just take . As you know from previous experience. Our guarantee of "at least 20. was subjected to abnormal strain.15 Rubbertex Tire you a new 6. we can appreciate how you feel.CLAIM AND ADJUSTMENT LETTERS the tone to be given such a letter.000 miles of trouble-free service under normal conditions. crack. They find that your tire was driven when seriously underinflated this caused the side walls to . A clear explanation of the situation from the adjuster's point of view. Harding: new We 6. A complete refusal of adjustment or a statement of a paradjustment. it. John Ostrander. 103 its answer" con- An attempt to get on common ground with the agreeing with him in some way. we enclose a booklet which. of the situation. An attempt to get the reader to accept the adjuster's analysis For example. you injured in the same way yours was. Mr. which no tire could stand. Tires can give. tents will usually be as follows: If a "soft is 1 . Rubbertex Tires are built to give 25.
These two letters show that one of the chief functions of the adjustment letter is to educate the customer to the proper care of the product. Although we guarantee the Supreme for three years against all defects in workmanship or materials. be glad to put your Supreme in brand-new condition at the actual cost of the parts. Sincerely. shall. . J. Adjuster Notice how tactfully the following letter fixes the responsibilfor the breakdown of a washing machine without accusing ity the customer: you that it's inconvenient to run a home without a Washer. which are given on page 3 of your instruction book. $3. your rim The Rubbertex Tire Company C. If he can be shown that the adjuster is comof adjustment without pletely fair. You will understand. Cowan. we have lost no time in investigating Supreme the source of the trouble in your machine. Sincerely yours. will be completely oiled and ready to operate. When your machine is returned to you.67. that we cannot grant your request to repair your machine without charge. authorizing us to proceed with the repairs. you will get years of trouble-free service from your washer. and we'll return your Supreme on Saturday in plenty of time to banish those washerless Monday blues. we cannot assume responsibility for repairs necessitated by improper care.I0 4 this letter to EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS your local dealer. Just mail the enclosed post card today. Kelley: We The report from our repair department indicates that your washing machine has a burned-out bearing which was caused by the fact that it has not been oiled. and he will mount your new Rubbertex on ready to protect you from dangerous skids and blowouts. Then. if you will follow the directions for oiling. he will accept the refusal any loss of good will. certainly agree with Dear Mrs. For that reason. therefore. We it however.
return same when discovered. we find. in their haste inadvertently place such items in their effects and. consider the following exchange between Mr. Kaffer of the staff of the Palmer House in Chicago and Mr. concealing same in a sack of peanuts after removing the nuts (replacement value of $. woolen blankets. Detroit. Kaffer: desolated to learn. of course. it would be a mistake any adjustment situation must necessarily be stereotyped. Illinois My I i. E. . Bannister to guests frequently. Kaffer telling him that two to conclude that the treatment of Harry Bannister of radio station WWJ. after reading your very tactful letter of September am that you actually have guests at your hostelry who are so absent-minded as to check out and include such slight tokens of your esteem as wool blankets (replacement value of $8. were missing from the room you occupied" and asking Mr. Bannister had stayed overnight at the Palmer House. I suppose that passengers on some of our leading railroads are apt to carry off a locomotive or a few hundred feet of rails when disembarking from the choo-choo on reaching their destinations. Originality and a sense of humor can be most helpful in solving situations which might otherwise become rather tense. L. L. Or. Bannister used his sense of humor as the basis for the following rather devastating reply: his look through luggage when unpacking since u Mr.05). E." Instead of losing his temper. Mr. dear Mr. the same token.CLAIM AND ADJUSTMENT LETTERS Despite the fact that much of the procedure in claims and adjustments is of a rather routine nature. u he received a letter from Mr. a visitor to a big city zoo might conceivably take away an elephant or a By rhinoceros.00 each) when repacking the other necktie and the soiled shirt. As a classic example of these qualities. Kaffer Assistant General Manager Palmer House Chicago. Several days after Mr. replacement value of $8 each.
elevators we do a lot of counting around here. telling her in nice. Yes. Later.S. every one of them. It would take a radio execuI tive to compose a letter that would cause might Damon Runyon. Kaffer replied as follows: Dear Mr. that you have naturally realized that you were most unfortunately a victim of a machine-like routine made necessary by the very vastness of an organization so well managed as the Palmer House. maid came in and I handed the blankets (same blankets and same replaceto place ment value) to her. gentlemanly language to get them the hell out of there. The blankets in question occupied the bottom drawer of the dresser. Mark Hellinger.50 each) in that so I lifted said blankets and placed them on a chair." and all the bothersome promotions that annoy countless people in the middle of their You. My sincere congratulations to you. Bannister: wish to thank you for one of the most delightful letters it has been my pleasure to read in my entire business career. in your executive capacity. them out of bed on cold nights to answer telephone queries. must of necessity supervise countless counts of so-called "listening audiences. therefore. Harry Bannister P. If you'll count all the blankets in your esteemed establishment. and I wanted this particular case I slight assistance to lot of down the recalcitrant blankets. Have you counted your elevators lately? To this. the drawer. Bannister. to blush with futile envy. I want to continue counting you as a friend of the Palmer House. assume. That's the that all are present or accounted for have been accommodated at your emporium best I can do. Very truly yours. Mr. IVe counted the and they're right where they should be. Mr. and a lot of other writers radio hire. and operating. dinner. As had a some white shirts (replacement value of $3.106 In EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS may be of I you in running with me. What I want to count now is more important to me. or get I shall ." "program polls. you'll find unless other absent-minded guests in the meanwhile. I needed baggage all the drawer space you so thpught fully provide in each room.
" EXERCISES would you improve the phraseology and general tone of the following adjustment letter? Rewrite the letter on the assumption that one of your new employees has made an error and included 500 old shades in i. and silverware in your public studios and reception rooms and see what happens. are sorry. So long play an important role in any letter. 107 merry world that would. Mr. and WWJ "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off. humor. we might well adopt Mr. "A soft answer turneth away wrath. I am. Bannister. It We routine. Nothing is sacred it would seem. that you were bothered as a result of a maid's mistake. towels. it gave me a As the song "Can't says. and cleverness can Originality. In closing. And there's another song you also use. in a way. They even go religious on us and take along the Gideon Bibles to the number of several thousand yearly. chance to read your happy the incident happened. L. hundreds of feet of rails. Kaffer as letters such as these can be written within the province of claims and adjustments. there is no need for further refutation of the charge that business letters must necessarily be dull and routine. Twenty-five thousand dollars' worth of silverware (actual auditors' "reis carried away annually by our "absent-minded" guests. as you so naively "carry off locomotives. How the order. We Be Friends?" Very sincerely yours. lot of folk in this placement value") A similar total (in "replacement value") is cherished annually by sentimental guests who like our linens as a memento of their visit to the Palmer House. E. And so it goes. because was a swell missive.CLAIM AND ADJUSTMENT LETTERS There are a put it. our theme should certainly be." Just put a few ash trays. and pack away an elephant or a rhinoceros. Her lapse of memory started a giant wheel of letter. for claims and adjustments. Kaif er's idea of the theme song." has no doubt played it "countless" times. pillows. glassware. blankets. .
Hawkins showed you at the time you purchased your carpeting from him. Your salesman has ap- parently neglected to tell the customer that no two dyes of carpeting are exactly the same and that samples and the delivered carpet do not match is already cut to the dimensions of the customer's rooms. Since the carpeting to accept this adjustment. Ohio. Write. Since you have been a good customer of ours. offering her a discount of 20 per cent and endeavoring to get her exactly. Since your drapes and furniture were ordered to blend with the sample of carpeting. does not match the sample which Mr. 3. we are willing to take back the shades which you claim are discolored and to replace them. 2. Mr. As adjuster for The Elite Home Furnishing Company. If this is how such damage could have occurred it is because of our merchandise is carefully inspected before shipped. Illinois Dear Sir: We were greatly surprised to learn from your letter of October 12 that the 3. 4.000 silk lamp shades ordered on October i were unsatisfactory. Purchasing Agent The Johnson Manufacturing Company Peoria. We hope this will be satisfactory. You also state that several hundred of the shades give evidence of having been in our stock room for a long period of time because they are dusty and faded. Harry White. John Hawkins. We cannot understand this because the lamp shades sent to you were manufactured only one month ago. Chardon. 14 Amherst Street. has running three weeks stopped . claim that many of the shades we are at a loss to understand all were discolored and streaked. Sincerely yours. salesman for The Elite Home Furnishing Company.108 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS Mr. claiming that New York. Write a claim letter to The Elite Home Furnishing Company. you face a considerable loss if the customer does not accept it. You true. The carpeting for your living and dining rooms. it returned a $49. Will Carmen.50 wrist watch. however. Poughkeepsie. 27 East 55th Street. which you ordered from samples submitted by Mr. your whole decorative scheme is ruined. you have received the claim letter mentioned in Exercise 2.
has written that a mahogany dining room table shipped by you on 9. Write an adjustment 5. On August i. I will stop doing business with you. Florida. The traveling bag.27 write explaining why your one-year guarantee against . Mr. October 27 arrived with its top badly scratched. resulting in a burned-out bearing. Hurley by the Southern Leather Company. a of $67. Apparently your shipping department was negligent in inspecting this merchandise before shipment. the plug in the crankcase was not tightened and the repair bill oil drained out.38 made in Exercise 7. Sapulpa. Miami. As sales 8. It seems to me you ought to be more careful to fill your orders on time. you took your Buick coupe to the Economy Service Station to have it greased and the oil changed. Sincerely yours. and as a result I did not have the goods my spring sale. Rather than pay charges for shipping a new table and for returning the scratched one which is the adjustment the customer asks for offer a . write a claim letter to the Southern Leather Company asking for a better quality traveling bag. just before starting on a long trip. was sent direct to Mr. 6. 3721 Williams Street. An investigation by your service department shows that the watch has been dropped or seriously jarred. If this happens again. which was supposed to be of the finest quality leather and appointments. Write an appropriate claim letter to the Economy Service Station. How Sir: could the following claim letter be improved? Dear My for order did not arrive on time.38. Hurley has complained to you that the bag is cheap in appearance and certainly is not worth $25. Because of a mechanic's negligence. defective materials or attempt to get workmanship does not cover this sort of damage and Mr. The actual cost of repairs will be $4. Carmen's authorization for the necessary repairs. The Square Deal Furnishing Company. and great inconvenience. letter granting the claim for $67. Oklahoma. for being manager.CLAIM AND ADJUSTMENT LETTERS 109 after he purchased it. John Hurley has been awarded a prize of a $25 pigskin traveling bag your top salesman during the last month. 1213 Atlantic Avenue. 5.
Excello which You can hardly expect any better performance from your Model A since our tests show that it is performing with maximum efficiency.000 copies of the catalogue arrived on February 26. Mr. Sincerely yours. you had no chance to see proofs because it was essential that the catalogue be in the hands of your customers by March i. informed us that he strongly advised your getting our larger Model B is designed to furnish 50 per cent more hot water and that you were not interested. feel no responsibility in this matter. Write to the General Printing Company asking for an adjustment. Mr. Although we regret the fact that you are dissatisfied with the Model A Excello Hot Water Heater which we installed in your home last month. Write Mr. 797 Easton Blvd. Charles Evans. Pulver explaining that the errors were since been dismissed for negligence. We. 361 Greenwood Avenue. therefore. Rewrite the following adjustment Chatfield: letter: Dear Mr. William Pulver. Revise the following claim letter: . 13. you found errors in the prices listed for eleven of your major items. publication was delayed three weeks and. Because of a printers' strike.HO EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS discount of 20 per cent on the table and suggest that this saving be used to repair the damage. When the 10. Walla Walla. we feel that we have no responsibility for this situation. made by a bookkeeper who has 1 1 Your spring hardware catalogue was printed by the General Printing Company. Troy.. Washington. The only way to obtain the performance you desire is to install our Model B Excello at an additional cost of $96. despite the fact that we have made over 900 such installations there. therefore. 10. . We cannot understand why we have received complaints from none of the other people in your community. 12. the error was made by you when you chose too small a heater for your needs. who installed your heater. New York. has written to you indignantly protesting that twice within the last year he has received bills for merchandise for which he had paid cash.
being overcharged. business. Fallon informed your investigator that the family had received a new radio. more than half of it was spoiled. cannot be located. Personally. Fur Company asking for an immediate adjustment. and I You it's big utility paying such exorbitant bills. certainly did a fine job of doing everything wrong on my order for a I don't see how an outfit like yours can stay in . My December bill from you it is higher than the one for was $6. New Jersey. Through an error in shipping instructions. Newark. write to the general manager of the Reliable 17. Fallon's letter based on your investigation his meter is accurate. and an iron for Christmas. was sent to Allendale. 3741 East Market Street. Since it is now November and you would have to wait until January under the terms of this agreement. John 14. want someone to come out and examine my meter because I know I'm Sincerely yours. When you received the meat three days late. 200 pounds of meat in- tended for your boys' camp at Ellendale.CLAIM AND ADJUSTMENT LETTERS Gentlemen : 1 1 1 Every time the I get an electric light bill month before. which is the highest I have tired of ever had. companies take advantage of small customers like me. and getting sick am and I no wonder you make the huge profits that I see reported in the papers. that the December when the Fallons probably had a cost of electricity has gone lighted Christmas tree was for the month of and additional lighting. 1 6. Write an appropriate claim letter to the General Packing Company. Your fur coat. Make use of such other information as the commodities has increased greatly. 15. your coat must be declared missing for three months before any adjustment can be made. letter: Rewrite the following claim Sirs: Dear You day bed.71. which was sent for summer storage to the Reliable Fur Company. an electric toaster. J. Fallon showing Write an answer to Mr. the bill fact that while the price of other down. that Mrs. New York. You have made repeated phone calls but have been informed that under the terms of the storage contract. New Jersey.
this. Tests in our shop show that your contention is true and that the bad tone of the phonograph was due to a cracked crystal in the player arm. Investigation shows that your shipping department was in error. I wanted it particularly because we were entertaining extra guests during my vacation and your careless disregard of my instructions spoiled everything but you don't care about that. Six received a complaint from an irate customer who months after his house was chemical analysis shows painted. your company pay the cost of repainting. . I'd like to know what you intend to do about store. You may make any adjustment you consider proper. the paint began peeling off in spots. 19. and your local dealer believes that the condition was caused by excessive moisture in the walls A from ice backing up under the slate roof in the winter months. Instead of that. Sincerely yours. After this experience I'm through doing business with your Yours truly. you tried to deliver it to my home so the neighbors told me while I was on my vacation. Joseph Witherspoon 1 8. Your company has insists that your paints are -defective. Write refusing his claim that 20. but this somehow we failed to with yours.!I2 I EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS probably shouldn't expect you to remember anything I told you. letter: Rewrite the following adjustment : Gentlemen Your complaint concerning the automatic record player which did not give satisfaction has been received. Would you prefer to have us replace this crystal at our expense or do you wish have us give you credit for the original cost of the instrument? to We do try to test all phonographs before delivery. As correspondent for your store. write an adjustment letter in answer to the previous claim. Mr. but I gave you specific instructions to send that day bed to my summer camp. Witherspoon has had a charge account with your store for twelve years. that the paint was properly mixed by the contractor.
our guarantee covers only defects in material and workmanship. Cartwright : We are glad to tell you. mentioned in your letter of December 27. we find nothing seriously wrong with it. includes "defects in However. 483. which includes postage. only $2. We were indeed sorry to learn that you ran into difficulties so soon after Christmas. Movie Pro- jector No. A careful examination of the projector discloses that the oscillat- have minutely examined this part for any ing arm is broken. the cost of repairs is slight. a. A few inexpensive repairs are needed. in answer to your letter of that.78. after careful examination of the Cinemotion December 27. we will be glad to repair the projector and return it within a few days. Select the Which lates which in your judgment is least effective and point out how fundamental principles of adjustment letters.CLAIM AND ADJUSTMENT LETTERS 21. Dear Mr. ment letter of the following three letters dealing with the same adjustproblem do you regard as most effective? Give reasons. As you will recall. defect which might have caused the break but are forced to the conclusion that the projector must have been dropped or possibly We knocked unintentionally.78 for repairs and postage. The machine appears to have been dropped or otherwise damaged. it vio- Dear Mr. b. if you will send us $2. once? . If you will write us immediately. we shall see that the projector is returned to you in tiptop shape within ten days. May we put your machine in first-class working condition at Very truly yours. enclosing your check for the above amount. Cartwright : The Cinemotion Movie Projector. as materials and workmanship" only. for the oscillating arm is broken. but. We most sincerely regret that our guarit antee will not take care of this repair. Very truly yours. arrived this morning.
Write to a of an actual letter making a claim that company asking if your class may make use was refused. local utility 23. not covered by our guarantee. adjustment men for public utilities and department stores make excellent subjects for such an interview. please send us a check or order for $2.78 to cover the cost of repairs and postage. . their general policy toward claims. This aged by is. and we thank you for past favors. 483. which you returned to us. After the members of company along with your thanks the class have written the refusal of the claim. Very 22. and the techniques they use in letters granting or refusing claims.II4 c. We have carefully examined the Cinemotion Movie Projector No. EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS Dear Mr. of course. Cartwright : Thank you for your letter of December 27. and we find that the merchandise is not defective projector has been dropped or damcareless handling and the oscillating arm is broken. money These repairs will take at least ten days." this projector repaired. select two or three of the best letters and send them to the utility for permission to use the claim letter. which expressly states as stated in your letter. Since they are in touch with all groups of people. The that If it covers only "defects in materials and workmanship. Interview one or more adjustment men to find out specific examples of claims they handle. You are to report to the class on how claims are handled in business. you want We regret that our guarantee does not cover this work. truly yours.
businessmen. These statistics indicate both the magnitude and the efficiency of the American credit system. capacity. and textbook writers have their own definitions of credit. P. Economists. For instance. business- men and is often speak of the three C's of credit character. need not concern us. Morgan is said to have remarked that "Credit 99 per cent character." Such observations are interesting. J. as applied specifically to the letters concerned with its ultimate granting or refusal. other sur- veys show that less than one per cent of the credit granted is actually written off as a loss. whether that abilor on a wealthy uncle ity rests on his character.CHAPTER VII Credit Letters Estimates show that between 85 and 90 per cent of American business is transacted annually on a credit basis. credit is an estimate of the individual's ability and willingness to pay later. now and pay for it later. we must think of credit is it in simpler terms. but if we are to get a useful idea of what credit means. capital. To which he may have something the businessman who must decide whether or not to grant it. simply a device by To the individual who seeks it. Credit (from the Latin credo "I believe") is based on faithfaith in people and in their willingness and ability to fulfill their obligations. his capacity. The statistics mentioned in the first paragraph show that the but an efficient granting of credit is no haphazard technique from the combined experiences of process which has emerged .
bookshops. except in the 1 matter of paying your bills.Il6 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS credit information in American businessmen. with their retail purchasing and paying history. By telephoning or. your name is entered in a ment stores. big hotels. This report tells what New York accounts the customer has had in the past. like the gumshoe men for the insurance companies. which costs a dollar. They have forty-six "Where Credit Is Due" originally appeared in The New Yorker. and a general estimate of your character. go about putting shrewd questions to landlords and doormen. for good or ill. professional people. but the Credit Bureau doesn't care about your habits details not only especially. your paying record. how big the accounts were. silversmiths. the biggest of over a hundred of its kind in the nation. . what rent you pay. Three months is fair. and carry it off with him. It's a cooperative organization. Then for it there's the special report. with some twelve hundred members. The pooling of the cooperative credit bureaus of various American cities has greatly diminished the number of letters that must be written concerning a given credit situation. Of the card index. the size of your family. like the Associated Press. liquor dealers. and there it has the names of three million people on file. and the length of time he took to pay. but is well worth it. Some credit investigators. Four months is slow and if you take longer than that you're called delinquent. querying by telautograph. a store can get a Trade Clearance Report on a prospective customer in just a few minutes useful when an impetuous buyer wants to open an account. depart- you. and most businesses you could think of. Its headquarters occupy a whole floor of the building at 381 Fourth Avenue. (The Bureau considers payment within two months prompt. charge something then and there. considering that is certainly among the most important. your employment record. but your income. in the case of the biggest stores. many undoubtedly knows so much about places where. The scope and efficiency of the largest of these bureaus are described humorously in the following excerpt from The Neiv Yorker: WHERE You undoubtedly ought Greater to CREDIT IS DUE x know more about it the Credit Bureau of New it York.) The Bureau assesses its members thirty-five cents for this report.
news of things that might affect a person's financial standing (lawsuits. B. Collection Department which the weekly bulletin listing men who will not be and passers of bad checks. at one time or another. Letters to the references furnished requesting credit information. Mr. But since the coverage of these agencies is necessarily incomplete. A. Letters tion. credit informa- 4. locates people. A 2. the information supplied by such organizations and by other sources obviates much of the delay previously considered inevitable in the granting or the refusal of credit. The a.CREDIT LETTERS 117 investigators working on the Special Reports and have over a million of these on hand already. marital difficulties. final letter to b. It operates a members may make use And there's a Clipping . People are paying up more promptly. Buckeridge. which to. The whole system loss functions so well that the stores expect their annual from bad accounts to be down around one-half of one per cent. If a person or firm not listed in any of these sources applies for credit. from these references giving the the customer. the average time being about sixty days. The Bureau circulates a of if they want which searches the newspapers for Department. the whole technique of obtaining credit information by mail should be understood. Only seven per cent of all the applicants for credit are turned down. he says. responsible for their wives' debts. executive manager of the Bureau. letters 1 . the following types of credit might be written: letter acknowledging the customer's order or his application for credit and requesting that he send credit references. told us that twothirds of the people listed in his files had had to be spoken to pretty sharply about paying their bills. Naturally. and whatnot) and there's a Locate Department. Granting him Refusing him credit credit . 3.
to stress its request is routine and to encourage action by customer that the sooner the information arrives. (Usually three refer- 3. . a mercantile establishment. Thus. request that credit references be sent or that the enclosed credit blank be filled out. yet to protect itself the firm must make a thorough investigation. A statement welcoming the new customer or expressing 2. I. The letter usually follows this pattern: 1 . appreciation for his first order. A ences are requested: a bank. a familiarity with the technique of making final judgment of the individual's credit aids in comprehending the problems of sales and collection. The purpose of the letter acknowledging the fact that telling the the order or the application for credit is. the customer may receive his order. community. and a personal reference on the applicant's standing in his 4. therefore. An explanation of the firm's policy with regard to credit and payment of bills. Since the credit letter is closely connected with the sales letter on the one hand and the collection letter on the other. the customer is led to expect his order promptly and is impatient of any delay caused by the credit routine. ACKNOWLEDGING APPLICATIONS FOR CREDIT Salesmen habitually encourage new customers to place orders and are inclined to dismiss the whole matter of the granting of credit as incidental.Il8 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS A general understanding of the problems and principles of each of these types is invaluable to any correspondent. the sooner his order can be sent.) incentive to action as this routine is An by emphasizing the fact that as soon finished.
It is our hope that this is the beginning of a long business relationship. Barrett: We greatly appreciate the order for $237. White. the information you send us will. we must ask you to fill out and the enclosed blank from our credit department. credit applications offer no serious problems. of course.CREDIT LETTERS 119 The done: following letter indicates specifically how this may be Dear Mr. our representative Since this your territory. This is part of our return regular routine in handling all new accounts. Your account be opened and your order will be shipped as soon as this us. Sincerely yours. The ques- Like any inquiry. the credit department will lay even greater stress Acknowledgments of upon request for information." 2 . is our first transaction with you. be held in the strictest confidence. REQUESTING CREDIT INFORMATION letters requesting credit information from the customer's references should be easy to answer. such a form in. is as the following. Where less detailed information is required.21 worth of canned goods which in you placed with Mr. the customary procedure is to enclose a credit blank to be filled out. lest the inexperienced customer be antagonized by what his ignorance of business technique may lead him to think is "prying into his the usualness of its affairs. In dealing with the general public rather than with businessmen. with the credit applicant's name typed used: . We shall do our best to make it a pleasant and will information reaches profitable one for you. tions asked should be specific rather than general.
California Your estimate of his financial responsibility. we shall be very Your reply will. Sincerely yours. be kept in strict confidence. of course. John Dickson 316 Fernway Road Los Angeles. We enclose a stamped. addressed envelope for your convenience. Gentlemen : The has given us your Company name will appreciate of address ( ) as a credit reference. depending upon whether the correspondent speaks favorably or letter giving credit The . and shall his previous methods of borrowing will be very helpful to us. his credit reputation. Sincerely yours. will your giving us the benefit of your experience with this answer the questions listed on the form below and in the enclosed stamped envelope. of course. be kept We be confidential. which will. 3. LETTERS GIVING CREDIT INFORMATION information varies considerably. If you return this letter grateful. grateful for this information. We company.120 Gentlemen : EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS We should like to have your opinion of Mr. How long has this company The terms were Amount now owing is $ will last transaction dealt with you? Highest credit you extend is $ Date of the Remarks (Signed) (Date) .
His credit was $250. It is customary to avoid using any names in ple: letters should be much more guarded and reporting unfavorably on the applicant's credit reputation. as in the following exam- Gentlemen : The we individual about record with us." replies are frequently studded with such phrases u and we believe it to be true. borrowed from newspaper reporters. Sincerely yours. as in the following instance: Gentlemen : Mr." "to the best of our knowledge/' . hence. the letter is frank in answering any necessary questions. Hurley. The Taft Brothers Where letter the information is unfavorable to the applicant.CREDIT LETTERS I2 i unfavorably of the credit applicant. Similar phraseology. and he has usually paid his bills on the first of the month following purchase. the careful in its language because of the legal implications involved in expressing an unfavorable opinion of someone's credit reputation. Indiana. and are already having great difficulty in collecting from him. limit with us He whom you inquired on July 3 has a poor credit has been a customer of ours for less than a year. Sincerely yours. Where a favorable reply can be given. Allen Eaton. has always had a good credit rating with us. these credit as "it is said. but at present we are making shipments to him only on a strictly cash basis. 27 Broadway. He has been a customer of ours for seven and a half years. is used to keep the letter guarded in its tone and to avoid the direct expression of unfavorable opinion. His credit limit with us has been $500. about whom you asked us on July 26.
the letters in the credit series have been of a rather 4. We hope you will enjoy shopping in our store. it should welcome him and express the hope that his "visit" will be enjoyable and that he will take advantage of the many facilities the city" offers. Consider the difference in the cordiality of the following letters: man hopes Dear Mr. A. If the opinion is easy to compose. The Letter Granting Credit letter not merely a statement of terms which tells the customer of the quality of the merchandise and of the excellence of the service the firm tries to give. if favorable. But in his final letter. the letter is comparatively the opinion is unfavorable and credit is most difficult of all business letters must be writBecause of the resulting difference in technique. but refused. offering no very serious problems. his estimate of the customer's willingness and capacity to pay later. we are granting you credit with a top limit of $500. however indirectly. the credit man must express. . each of these types is discussed separately. routine nature.122 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS THE FINAL LETTER. It may be compared in its general tone to a note of welcome to a friend who has just arrived in granting credit it is is The and conditions. Jones: In accordance with your request of May n. GRANTING OR REFUSING CREDIT Thus far. Our bills are sent on the 28th of each month and are payable by the loth of the next month. The general tone of welcome. of interest in the customer's welfare. and of willu ingness to serve him credit is invaluable at the beginning of what the will be a long and pleasant business relationship. also a sales letter the writer's city. Sincerely yours. the ten.
you be given opportunity advance to shop at all our sales before advertisements reach the general public. The size of our company and the number of our customers now prevent that. indeed. we hope that we may express our appreciation by serving you efficiently for many years to come.CREDIT LETTERS Dear Mr. "Just charge it to A call no extra my you of the hundreds of services offered for your convenience. generally present. 3. to Miss Parker will give you this efficient service and. Jones: 123 We are happy. at account. All you need say now is. but our growth has come. from our interest in serving all of our customers in the friendly manner that has become a tradition at Portland's most modern will store. For our part. to grant payable by include for a credit account your request of May the loth of each month. Usually the letter granting credit contains: 1 . As part of our in service to charge customers. A granting of credit A statement of terms A sales talk on the type of service the company hopes to render 4. of them are as The personality of the letter important . and will continue to come. The second letter is far more deft in expressing the hope that this new business relationship will be mutually profitable and indicates a determination to make it so. will tell The enclosed booklet Sincerely yours. with us. You will want to take advantage of our shopping service. are mailed on the 28th n of the month and all charges up to the 25th." charge. of course. Bills. which enables you to shop by phone to avoid the tiresome trip downtown. 2. it was possible for the Blank Company to welcome each of its new customers personally. An expression of appreciation all is Although the order of these parts may vary. Formerly. We want you to use them because they will save you time and money.
The mere refusal of the credit not so difficult. with this as its purand through the use of the you attitude. What else should the writer try to do? The applicant has been judged so poor a risk that no credit can be granted. The Letter Refusing Credit Correspondents customarily believe that the letter they are engaged in writing at any given time is the most difficult of all types of letters. there is little doubt that we would select the letter refusing is credit. if the friendly. al- though the implication that the applicant represents a poor risk is hardly a pleasant one. Ideally. Far too many businessmen are content with a routine form letter starting with the unimaginative words. cordial." and ending with a pious hope that things may be different at some indefinite time in the future. then.124 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS is granting of the credit and helpful in tone. B. as its contents. it will be adequate. If the writer has thought out what he is trying to do in this letter (as described in Chapter I). The immediate problem before us always seems the most perplexing. "This is to inform you that we are unable at this time to extend credit. but if we objectively consider what is the most difficult of all the usual types of business letters. the refusal-ofpose credit letter should convince the credit applicant that his advantage to buy on a cash basis. he is not refusing credit so much as he is trying to get the applicant's business on a cash basis. The problem in refusing credit arises from the intelligent writer's desire to make his letter something more than just a refusal as it certainly ought to be. yet there are perfectly sound arguments which can be used to convince the customer . Why not let the whole matter end with a vague or indefinite refusal? That is obviously the easiest way out for the credit man. it is to This conviction is not easily attained. but it is not the intelligent way.
the credit man may advary vance such incentives as a discount for cash. Notice how tactless and inept the following letter is: Dear Mr. regret to state that our investigation of your credit standing shows that your firm is not a good We We hope that you will understand our position in this matter as we want your business. perhaps he can get credit from another source. But the alternatives for the writer of this type of letter are to refuse structive. for your order of February 16. should actasks: it complish two should refuse credit and it should at- tempt to get a cash order. In its structure. but we operate on so small a margin of profit that we dare not risk any credit losses. then. the second objective is much the more important because it may lead directly to an order. Perhaps the applicant won't accept these suggestions.CREDIT LETTERS that cash will 125 buying is to his own advantage. the correspondent will not be content to be negative. yet the actual refusal must be handled with great tact and a careful choice of \vords. the refusal-of-credit letter. its language must not reflect this at all. or the advantages of buying in small quantities for cash and thus keeping up-todate merchandise in stock. From the writer's viewpoint. he will try to prevail upon the customer to buy for cash. or the pleasures of end-of-themonth freedom from bills. Haley: Thank you credit risk. or the fact that cash buying over a period of time will establish his reputation so that credit may be granted in the future. The anomalous character of the refusal-of-credit letter comes from the fact that although it constitutes an unflattering comment on the applicant's financial standing. If him and stop there or to try to do something conhe represents a firm which believes in making every legitimate effort to increase business. . Although the letter with the individual situation.
the correspondent must not use such statements as "you are a poor credit risk" or "your credit references were unsatisfac- tory" or "the report on your financial standing was not satisfactory. Prices and workmanship should indeed be incomparable to for the ineptitude of this letter. would fill your we would be you still want to place an order with us. If it. for example. we think placing no hardship on you if we ask you to order C.126 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS stated that 2. b. With all these aspects of the problem clearly in mind. Acknowledging receipt of the credit references or credit information. In that case.O.D. cutting down the size of the order and paying part cash and the balance on specified terms) or by ." "you stated. a. two major objectives as follows: Refuse credit by a. the writer of the refusal-of-credit letter will probably attempt to attain his 1 ." and such negative approaches as make up "we would be placing no hardship on you. Such antagonizing phrases as "not a good credit risk. 2. Yours truly. However true they may be. we shall be glad to take care of As you know. Attempt to get an order on a cash basis by Making some practical offer to cooperate (such as." and "if you still want to place an order with us" certainly tend to drive customers into the arms of competitors. and the language must be selected to express the situation in less harsh terms.100 of our No. 14 cardboard containers You needs for the next three months." "we dare not risk any credit losses. our workmanship is better and our prices are lower than any of our competitors'." These facts must be glossed over. Analyzing the situation by beginning with its more favorable aspects but ending with a clear statement of refusal of credit.
a saving which you may pass on to your customers. Your merchandise Just in plenty will arrive C. Dear Mr. since yours is a thriving community. suggestion that cash buying in smaller quantities will give a stock. duplicate of your order will assist you in making your seleccheck the items you wish and sign the order. we must refuse your credit application. But its location within 20 miles of New York City forces you to compete with the larger stocks and lower prices of the metropolitan department stores. would suggest. . We for your promptness in sending us the credit information we are glad to report that all of your credit references spoke favorably of you as a businessman.D. so readily accessible to commuters from Bellport and similar communities. Travis: Thank you requested. This will entitle you to our two per cent cash discount. Thus. Notice how effectively one credit is man handles a difficult re- fusal. such as ) An offer of cash (2) A discount. you can best meet the competition of the New York stores through keeping up-to-date merchandise on your shelves.CREDIT LETTERS b. for We The enclosed tion. making no mention of what Travis is a very poor credit risk: probably the fact that Mr. The new store which you are opening in Bellport should eventually prosper.O. 127 the customer him- Advancing arguments self benefits ( i to show that by cash buying. wider selection and more up-to-date a short (3) An inducement to establish credit within period by buying for six months or a year on a cash basis. within two days after our receipt of the order of time for your opening sale. Sincerely yours. through cash buying you will establish your business on a sound basis that will entitle you to an excellent credit reputation. Because your resources do not indicate that you can meet such competition by starting with a large indebtedness. that you cut your order in half and pay cash it. By ordering frequently in small quantities. therefore. usually two per cent.
we will ship them "balance due C. but elaborate and usually require several weeks to com- like to Since you probably need the tags as soon as possible. We realize that a thorough credit investigation would probopen ably show that your organization investigations cost quite a bit plete. Gentlemen : Thank you heaters. and. Sincerely yours. we are not warranted in opening the account. if you prefer.D. Burton on June n for Safeway As is the usual custom before a new account is opened.O. for the present. . we have tried to obtain information that would serve as a basis for extending credit. is in good shape financially. therefore. he uses all the arguments he can muster. Doe : Thank you in our files for your order for 50. depending entirely on the technique used. send us a of ten or twelve credit references and your latest financial statement.128 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS This credit man takes the very realistic point of view that half an order is better than none! To get it. The fusing credit in such a following letters also reveal a tactful technique of reway that the prospect will not take umbrage: Dear Mr. however. Such information as we have thus far obtained does not permit us to form a definite conclusion. for your order given to Mr. A comparison of the tone of this letter with that on page 1 2 5 will show how ineptly or how deftly credit can be refused.000 tags. Or. send $40 and We will enter your order as soon as we receive your check list or. Unfortunately. we now find that the credit information we have is not complete enough to enable us to accept your order on account. I thought you might send us your check for $79 to avoid the delay that would be caused if by our making a credit investigation. We are glad to have it." more convenient.
justified. if particulars were known. it is sent to those who are known promotion following letters sent by three department stores are typical of the whole class of such to be good risks. conditions may change so as to allow us to open an account for you. after convenience and not a necessity. Blake: Miss Rita Conway. all. You will find call you to Miss Conway such an account of the greatest convenience. has told me of your book sale and has suggested that you might be inter- interest in our spring ested in opening a charge account with us. the head of our book department. credit is a Possibly in the future. and. we shall be glad to have you call at our office or write us so that we can arrive at a better understanding. If you feel that our action is not realize that ters. THE BUSINESS PROMOTION LETTER business uses any opportunity from birthdays to Year's greetings as the occasion for letters designed to stimulate business or good will. Yours very truly. for it will enable at any time and order the books you want without the inconvenience of making long trips downtown. . Please feel sure that we are anxious to serve you. Designed to increase sales through an offer of credit. Meanwhile.CREDIT LETTERS 129 We misunderstandings sometimes occur through trifling matwhich. The letters: Dear Mrs. at least one of them may be considered as belonging in the province of the credit letter. In this way you will be able to keep up with the latest books and still have the benefit of Miss Conway's expert advice. We assure you that we will furnish you with ices offered the best of merchandise and give you the best prices and the friendly servby the Magnolia Heater Company. we hope you will instruct us to send this merchandise to you collect. Although these letters are fun- Modern New damentally sales messages. would have little or no bearing or? the consideration of one's credit standing.
to let us know We have thousands of customers who find their charge account a great convenience in getting the things they want at Rosenfield's and we sincerely hope you will use your account again. Just call any one of the departments listed in the enclosed folder. It will take just a why you have not used your charge account and yet we do not wish to annoy an old friend by But we do want to know if anything has happened to and minute for you to tell us the reason. order what you wish. and say "Charge it". so that we may serve you as you want to be served. Furthermore. Treasurer Dear Mr. displease you in the slightest. Selig: I plan to use my charge account again.. these same privileges are available in all of the 51 departments of our store. or if you are undecided about gifts for friends.) . Jones: A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS .. Sincerely yours. so continue to send my credit card ( ) each month. in the space below.. my And thank you very much. This letter is just to find out your wishes.I3 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS With a charge account. Sincerely yours. being too persistent. (Please check. you will receive admany sales in the various departments of the store. if you would like us to continue sending you your current credit card each month. and here's cash in advance still We are trying to find out at Rosenfield's recently. Just sign and mail the enclosed card which offers you carefree and convenient shopping. There's a postage-paid envelope enclosed which will bring your reply to desk. following letter with a penny attached has been highly successful in reactivating accounts and is an effective method of building better relations with customers: The Dear Mr. our Personal Shopping Service is availvance notice of our able without cost to charge customers.
(If us frankly.O.) we have failed to please you. Mrs. they will do it for you. (Check) have not used my account recently because of the following unsatisfac- tory service I received at Rosenfield's. They'll help you choose an appropriate birthday card and wrap your gift so beaufind tifully that you'll call Elliott be proud to present it to your "best girl. It's say more? It takes a funny thing how the average wife. From their knowledge and wide experience in what women like. they can and will save you lots of valuable time in selecting that gift which will be most appreciated.O. Keeping Husbands Out of Doghouse The general pattern of the business promotion letter is com- paratively simple: i . So here we are taking the day is liberty of reminding you that your wife's birth- Friday.* Department. except her husband. you will two very helpful women. If you should forget the date it won't be funny it'll be tragic. Reeser or Miss Ball of the K. between Pike and Pine. They are eagerly awaiting a personal visit or telephone call from you. if you can't shop in person. The use of some special occasion such as a holiday or a sale as the reason for offering credit. Lowman: Have you ever forgotten your wife's birthday? Need we years to live it down in most families. forget her birthdays. February 14 a red letter day for you a blue day for her if you don't remember it! At our uptown store." Happy days * if you don't forget! Sincerely yours.D. likes to have everyone. Just tell them to "charge it to my account. after a certain age. 1515 Second Avenue. Reeser and Miss Ball.H. . tell Dear Mr.CREDIT LETTERS I prefer to I 131 ( ) pay cash so please close my account." Just 8870 and ask for either Mrs.
understand why we cannot send you credit basis. money We think that you should order about half the amount of your original order and pay cash for this merchandise. you these days. Criticize the following letter refusing credit. but we regret to advise you that your references spoke rather We unfavorably of you. we shall be glad to We know you will prefer to stock because of their finer quality and lower price of $27.50. New York Dear Sir: appreciated your promptness in sending us all the necessary credit information. receive your order in a few days. James Click The Complete Haberdashery Beacon. convenient method by which the customer 3. Its psychology. the alert correspondent neglects no opportunity to place his firm's services before his readers and to build good will for his company. EXERCISES i. is indicative of how modern business of the gen- uses letters to stimulate sales. A detailed explanation of the advantages to the customer of having a credit account. Using letters as part eral plan of public relations. For our part. Sincerely yours. however. especially yourself know how difficult it is to collect from those with poor credit rating. Wearwell Men's Suits in your new store We shall hope to Wearwell Clothing Company James Bryant Credit Manager . You will. the merchandise which you ordered on August 15 on a As a businessman. Mr. A may take advantage of the offer. extend you our two per cent discount for cash. Rewrite the letter. therefore.EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS 2 .
Jones has been very slow 4.CREDIT LETTERS 2. Mr. 379 Broadway. Write a letter offering credit privileges to Charles C. Auburndale. 3621 Canal Street. at present he 5. Mr. Write an appropriate answer to the inquiry of The Standard Hardware Company. Investigation shows that Mr.19. Westfield. Joel Markey. New York. and $100 on the first of each succeeding month until the account is paid. and paint from your wholesale house. Lee has ordered $450 worth of men's from your wholesale clothing firm and has asked for credit. Ellenville. 6. Winthrop is a very poor credit 7. 9. 791 Pond Street. has ordered $279. Illinois. Pennsylvania. John Jones. Peoria. John Winthrop. in his payments. who has sent in his first order for $225 worth of electrical appliances on a credit basis. Use the fact that you are having a sale of gardening equipment as the occasion for the letter. has a poor credit rating with us. Seattle. Write an appropriate letter to one of the references furnished by Mr. Harry Whitacre. 301 Spring Street. suits Mr. Somerville. Smithport. Investigation reveals that Mr. 31 Warren Street. has ordered $431. The Standard Hardware Company. Whitacre inquiring about him as a credit risk.47 worth of kitchen utensils. about which you inquired on March 18. What changes would you make : in the following letter answering a request for credit information Gentlemen : The Exclusive Men's Store. Mr. 765 Main Street. 8. risk. refusing him the credit for which he has asked. Massachusetts. suggesting that he pay $150 down. Lee has had no previous business experience and is opening a new clothing store with the financial backing of his father. 133 information from Mr. Lamb has made a number of cash purchases in the garden department of your store. Write. Mr.67 worth of merchandise from your company. Mr. Write. Washinghas written to you for credit information regarding Mr. ton. I. you regard him as a very poor credit risk. owes your firm $371. altogether. 9 Street. Write granting him the credit with a top limit of $500. Markey has an excellent credit rating. Lamb. garden implements. C. During the . Washington. Massachusetts. letter requesting credit Write a Main 3.
F.134 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS past year and a half. Sincerely yours. 14. and three months ago. Criticize the following letter: Dear Mrs.D. Sterling and persuaded him to reduce his order and pay cash for it. . Sincerely yours. which he now wishes to enlarge. Write. is having Harold T. At that time you refused the credit to Mr. Write a letter asking such credit. we have had a great deal of difficulty in collecting the amounts owed us. which is moving into a new house. furniture. #i. Mr. 10. and kitchen equipment amounting to $900 about a year ago. which you might appropriately send to three wholesale furniture companies in your area. R. As the president of your fraternity. granting his request for credit on an order amounting to $600. you must obtain credit for the purchase of new furniture amounting to approximately one thousand dollars. Hoag: We have noticed that you have purchased various items from us* on a cash basis during the past year. Hillside. 12. we were forced to insist that all their purchases be on a cash basis. New York. 11. requested credit for bedding. Rewrite the following : letter granting credit: Gentlemen We are glad to grant you the credit which you recently asked for. 13. Sterling. Sterling has prospered moderately in his roadside restaurant and tourist camp. In the meantime. We hope you will enjoy the privileges of your credit with us. Offer them the opportunity to open a charge account with your store and use as the occasion for your letter the fact that your men's department another sale during the last week of March. Write a letter that will go to 175 customers who made substantial cash purchases during your January sale of men's furnishings. We want you to understand clearly that your account with us will carry a top limit of $400 and that our bills sent on the last day of each month are payable by the twentieth of the following month.
enterprises such as yours have very heavy we would incur a big loss. bureau near you.CREDIT LETTERS 135 inconvenient and if. arrange an interview with the manager for the purpose of explaining to your classmates the it way it oper- ates. letter to the First National Bank of Blankville. We want to take this opportunity to express our deep appreciation for your past patronage and to hope that we may continue to merit your approval. and any information it may make available on the paying habits of people in general. Prepare a form which your firm might use to request credit informacredit applicant. In the meantime. 2. Tennessee. you would not prefer to have a charge account. asking specific information about John Doeson of Blankville. things do not go well with you. order whatever If you want. we must say that we cannot grant You probably risks. much as we would like to. realize that new We and if have had so much experience with new businesses that we just do not dare take a chance. and just say "Charge it. That way you can simply call us up. We wondered if perhaps you did not find this like many of our other customers. Sincerely yours. we hope you will see your way clear to buy from us on a cash basis because we are really interested in expanding our new accounts. tion from the references supplied by the Write an appropriate 1 8. Yours 15. which offers many advantages. simply fill in the enclosed card. who has sent you an initial order for a substantial amount and has given the bank as a reference." you do prefer to open a charge account with us. . the services members. Rewrite the following refusal of credit: : Gentlemen In answer to your request of February the credit which you asked for. Read The New Yorker report on the Credit Bureau of Greater New York on page 116 before you offers to undertake this assignment. If there is a credit 16. truly. 17.
Mr. Lunderberry. New York. Write. The Credit Association has reported that Mr. . is unsatisfactory. point out how these principles should be incorporated in credit letters. arrange interviews with credit managers of three companies or stores to find out the basic principles they use in the granting or refusing of credit. Joseph Main Avenue. 397 Lunderberry's record credit. In the class discussion. Lunderan indoor skating rink in two weeks and wants immediate opening berry delivery of the skates. EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS You have is received an order for 500 sets of skates from Mr. As a class project. refusing his request for 20.I3 6 19. Westville. C.
rather than face additional embarrassment. Many collection their collection men discuss this situation quite frankly in letters. accomplishing collection: purpose of Dear Mr.52 you owe us but also because want you to buy from us again. at the same time. The customer who has owed money for a period of time ceases to be a customer. The following letter uses the you attitude to solicit further its business while. Sincerely yours. the work of the collection department becomes relationship The much simpler.CHAPTER VIII Collection Letters between the granting of credit and the colof debts is a close one. McMaster: We send you this not we just to collect the $47. when credit has been expertly lecting managed. One firm has had good results with the following brief note which states the problem in forthright terms: Dear Mr. for if he needs additional merchandise. Warner: One that of the reasons it may we dislike seeing your account go unpaid for so long is cause you to hesitate in ordering material you may need from us. he turns to competitors of the firm that has carried him on its books. Equally important is the relationship between the collection and sales departments. .
collection. make the collection letter seem important. Typical of such uninspired letters Dear Sir: is the following: Our books indicate that your account with us shows a balance of $116. second. pay up an order. Sincerely yours. it wore the drab garb of routine and impersonality. lose the business you might give us. we both lose. and mail it with your check in the envelope we are Yours enclosing? truly. Both these letters show a realistic conception of the way in which the work of each of the three departments affects the other two. That's the reason $89. an efficient collection procedure gives opportunity for more sales. . been owing us for several months.138 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS When you have merchandise. to get the money. and sales should also be recognized and reflected in the account. no business can long survive without effective collection methods and that fact sufficient to is. Obviously. and we. the should always remember that there is a twocorrespondent fold object to be accomplished: first. but be- yond that basic importance. indeed. Formerly the product of a bookkeeper. In collecting a past-due In recent years.74 to make why we'll both benefit by your sending your check for our invoice of April 15.17 due for goods shipped on November 13. you are apt to be a bit timid in reordering even though you are dangerously low on some of our In that case. letters that are sent out. scientific granting of credit makes the task of collection easier. the interrelationship of credit. Please remit at once. Why not check over your stock now. the collection letter has taken on new and varied hues. to retain the good will and patronage of the customer. in turn. You lose the sales and profit that you should have.
is it possible to determine the basic structure of collection letters? When properly considered as sales messages. who will probably be classified in one of the three general groups of good. opening paragraph that the states the business at amount due. This change has occurred because collection men have come to realize the value of selling the debtor the Idea that it is to his oivn advantage to pay.e. and colorful stunts previously associated only with the the sales letter. As in application. but since the poor are always with us. Without completely disregarding all the differ- ent situations and debtors involved. his debtor. or cajoled into payment. hand and men- . routine notice of payment due. credit. all the customers would be- long to the good or fair categories where they could be easily entertained. While this "trick stuff" sized. Instead of the dull. the collection man must deal with group of customers on the theory that they will pay if they are made to payand with this group his letters take on a this sterner tone. the humorous stories. or poor credit risks. the debtor of today gets a lot more thought. and humor expended on him than did the debtor of a few years ago. dates of letters or orders. the collection letter has assumed all the sales attention-arousing devices. and adjustment letters. arguments.COLLECTION LETTERS 139 Whether he realizes it or not. the modern approach to collection procedure is by the same technique as that in the sales letter. the technique of collection varies greatly with the individual debtor. the chances of pay- ment Naturally. Utopian situation prevailed. originality. amused. If a fair. if many a collection man should not be overemphahas nevertheless discovered that he can entertain or amuse increase.. An i. collection letters usually contain the following elements: i.
3.I 4o EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS tion of specific merchandise first is where necessary unless the 2. goes through to its most insistent point of threatening to take draslarly tic action to collect. as the This analysis ought to be regarded merely framework of the letter. In order to show the of the series. It is a guide to what the letter should try to accomplish rather than a formula to be followed exactly. the actual details may modify or change it greatly. if payment is not made promptly. THE COLLECTION Actually. or poor risk. But whether he deals with a good. fair. The frequency of the reminders and the degree of insistence will depend entirely upon the type of credit risk the customer is." as the collection series. . there is SERIES no such thing as the collection letter. Each of the letters in such a series contains some basic as- sumption which colors the whole letter. The closing paragraph motivates action. collection letters known tical singly but in battalions. an attention-arousing device. This series of letters is a prac- "come not expression of the fundamental belief behind all collection procedure &# the customer will pay if he is reminded regu- and with increasing insistence that payment is due. logical relationship between the individual letters we must now examine the fundamental assumption on which each of the letters is based and the manner in which each assumption contributes to the increasing insistence of the as a series whole. paragraph The next two paragraphs present the argument for payment. like troubles. which starts with a gentle reminder that payment is due and. the efficient collection man knows that the debtor must be handled according to a plan.
such as the man sends a state- following: Gentlemen: Your account shows an unpaid balance noticed that this amount was due. Gentlemen : Your account today shows an unpaid balance Not enough of $ like this to worry about. Its minded assumption that the customer really wants to be reof the debt is perhaps artificial. of course.52. Davis: Just a friendly reminder of our terms. Sincerely yours. Our account will be off your mind if you send us your check for $13. 14 ! The Assumption That That Payment Is Due This reminder the Customer Wishes to Be Reminded may be a very brief letter or simply a state- ment. but the collection man certainly feels that the debtor ought to be reminded. . calling to your self- you may send us your check in the enclosed addressed envelope. but many unpaid balances add up to a substantial sum. Perhaps you had not it are. the collection ment or a very brief note. We attention so that of $49.48 in the enclosed envelope. As the opening step in his campaign. Won't you remit today? Very truly yours. Very truly yours.COLLECTION LETTERS i. therefore. Many firms save time in the early stages by sending out form letters in which the amount and the date may be inserted. which are full payment monthly. Dear Mr.
43 which was due the of this month. so let's take care of it while young.79 today. one type that ages and the older it gets the still You've probably forgotten this birthday. truly.41 Will you accept this letter as a friendly reminder to send us your check for the If amount shown above. sure that first you have overlooked the balance of $79. Why not use the enclosed envelope? Yours truly.75 today? Sincerely yours. detail attended to frees their Our account will be off your mind if you send us a check for $33. this harder it is to handle. Yours very 2. As birthdays go.I42 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS Gentlemen: Balance past due: $312. fast. Here is a return envelope to help you clean up this account today. accept our thanks. the customer has simbrief ply forgotten to pay. Dear Sir: We feel quite. which is now past due? your check has already been mailed. Dear Sir : Your account has a birthday today. Yours very truly. The Assumption That This second letter is the Customer Has Forgotten to Pay and suggests that because of the rush of business or through an oversight. It's is days old. it's Gentlemen Executives : who are forced to carry many details in their minds cannot possibly do justice to all of them. Won't you please send us your check for $19. . But every minds for other matters.
In either case. requested Club Plan Accounts are opened with the understanding that the installments shown on the contract are to be paid each month when due. the Records of the Transaction At first thought. in our recent statement. We want to explain that A stamped. if he doesn't respond to he can't in good faith tell the collection man later in the series. If not. thank you. . we haven't received the monthly payment of $. this may seem to the uninitiated a curious letter to include in the collection series actually an offer of adjustment. Franklin: Perhaps you overlooked Possibly you forgot it At any rate. 3. The Assumption That Something Service. performs tion series. . Your check may be on its way. Yours truly. But this letter. Motor Car Division Dear Mr. First. it two important tasks in the collec- press any gives the customer a chance at an early stage to exdissatisfaction he may feel. we know you will send it immedi- ately. or the Is Wrong with the Goods. suggesting that perhaps the customer is dissatisfied or that the firm's records of the trans- because it is action are wrong. addressed envelope is enclosed for your convenience in remit- ting. Yours very Cadillac truly. "I haven't paid your bill because I didn't like the this offer. . .COLLECTION LETTERS Gentlemen : I 43 You know how hard it is to ask for money it and say just enough to get without offending.
144 service EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS you gave me. the customer is given an early opportunity to make any complaintsif he doesn't make them then. Black: Is there letter: any error in your account as it appears on our records? We If ask this because we have 30 and February 16 calling is received no answer to our letters of January your attention to your unpaid balance of $42. If any letter will dent this silent defense. necessary. Their most vex- men work on problem is the silent customer who gets all their letters. you ought in fairness to yourself to let us know about days? If not. may we have your remittance within Sincerely yours. the offer of adjustment will. For atious plays an important role in the wellplanned collection series and. even an unsatisfactory one. a solution to the problem may be worked out. any adjustment it. probably reads them.17 you owe us but we also want to keep your friendship. the "silent cus- the principle that any rebetter than none. the next few Dear Mr.37. in addition. they feel that if debtors can be persponse suaded to make some sort of reply. the contents of this letter are designed to crack the armor of the most tomer." The effective collection series forestalls that alibi. . it these two of the kind of service the firm wants to render. Robertson: This is not a dunning letter." Collection is difficult of all debtors. and then makes no reply. Second. he is not being fair to himself by keeping silent. If this indi- vidual has not received that kind of service. We want the $219. it offers an excellent and logical opportunity for a sales message couched in terms reasons. he can't very logically do so later. The following are good examples of this type of Dear Mr.
we do occasionally make them. we are wondering have some reason for not paying us. . Universal Paper Products Co. but we are aware that errors occur occasionally. I45 there paid your bills with us promptly in the past.26. may we please have an explanation? We'll do our part toward making any necessary adjustment. if you need any more cups. If there has been any tardiness in delivery or any mistake in our records. Gentlemen : DID Is it WE OVERLOOK SOMETHING? check? If because of some omission on our part that we have not received your so. include your order. we can perhaps. Cordially yours. King: Since we have not received your check for $13. and. On the other hand if we've performed our part of the sales contract.COLLECTION LETTERS You have always we know stance. If there are no corrections to be made. Dear Mr. Yours very truly. you will write us frankly. by the way. must be some special reason for nonpayment in this in- We try our best to render the most efficient service possible. Therefore. please tell us so that we can make the necessary adjustment. And. being human. Or. won't you now complete yours? Your check will do the trick. Naturally. If Yours truly. The enclosed selfif addressed envelope is for your convenience in replying.work out some plan whereby you can take care of the past-due balance without imposing too heavy a burden on yourself while. we shall expect you to send us your check today. if you we try to the best of our ability to avoid errors. at the same time. we want you to tell us about it. we can continue to make shipment to meet your immediate needs. but realize that mistakes you will do happen. you have found an error.
not complied with these terms nor given us the facts by which arrive at a solution. is insistence of his series. far. . The Assumption That Erroneous Were Since there has been no reply to his letters assuming that failure to pay was caused by oversight or dissatisfaction. and July 20.I 46 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS the Ideas of All the Previous Letters 4.02 or to gain some explanation from you. "We have delivered the goods you ordered and given you service which you accepted as satisfactory. may sound by this time he is well aware that he must increase the tempo and the the previous letter. are sorry that our customers whenever possible. our credit terms call for payment within 30 days. Whitcomb : In our letters of June 16. Like By primarily intended to get the debtor summing up what has been done thus the letter appeals to the customer's sense of fairness. We you have made no reply because it is our wish to help We filled your order promptly and in a manner that must have been satisfactory to you since you have made no reply to our offer of an adjustment. If there is no re- sponse to this letter. Is this fair?" In the collection transition series. You have we might Won't you use the enclosed envelope to send us your check or an explanation of why your payment is so long overdue? Very truly yours. the collection ally. Dear Mr. this fourth letter constitutes the to a between the first phase of the collection campaign second and much more urgent phase. he isn't as baffled as he in his letter. quickly and with great insistence. we tried unsuccessfully to obtain payment of your past-due account of $84. if he man now frankly admits that he is puzzled. As you know. July 2. Its theme is. this to break his silence. Actuhas had much experience. since you made no reply to our last letter and still you remain silent. the collection department properly feels that it must follow through.
as you know. finds water below ground. the problem with us is to obtain payment of your past-due account for and we are wondering amounting to . with the aid of a forked stick. credit reputa- You know that it is probably your most valuable . Otherwise. The Assumption That Responsibility the Customer Is Not Taking His Proper In keeping with the collector's view of the urgency of the situation. 5. it is to bis ouon interest to see that the delinquent account is settled. or his honor. adjustment. the sales message of this letter concerns the value of a sound credit reputation. Right now. this letter places the burden of responsibility squarely is no longer any talk of or similar reasons for the delinquency. Dear Mr. It points out that credit is the very lifeblood of business. or time is wasted on sales talk best of all.COLLECTION LETTERS Dear Mr. that's not a misprint for "well-wisher. that by paying this bill he preserves his most valuable asset thus. No about merchandise or service at this stage." A well witcher is a fellow who. Henry : 1 47 Ever hear of a Well Witcher? No. Martin : As a businessman you certainly tion. There responsibility. what kind of friendly persuasion it is going to take to bring us that check. reminders. stick business sounds like the That forked somehow. It appeals to his sense of pride. This letter points out that the customer is not fulfilling his on the shoulders of the debtor. Very truly yours. we had such a friendly persuader to solve our problems. his self-interest. there will be unpleasant action. Will you cooperate by making it the last? Please mail your check today/ on Jtell us the reason why. that no businessman can long survive without a sound credit reputation. realize the value of a good asset. we can't help wishing that magic wand of fairy tales but. Farmers employ him to find locations for wells. This is the fourth request.
we shall make such a report. furnishing our company with a signed financial statement. out from the mainland acra as a barrier against the wild north Pacific miles and the Bering Sea.I 48 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS Yet you are jeopardizing your credit rating for $89. commerce between America and Alaska would be seriously curtailed. the storms lash the ocean into a fury.19. Miller: Up along the west coast of Canada lies one of the greatest aids to ships Its reef of rocks several and commerce the world-fam^siiside Passage. the balance of your account with us. When you originally asked for credit in March of 1946. Without that channel. A You $31. have the reputaand favorably known in your community. is the one way to maintain your credit have to report your account as delinquent reputation. and are well good many years. . Dear Mr. and because it. Dear Mr. Miller. Surely you are being unfair to yourself to place so low an estimate on your most valuable asset. Jones: A business transaction that is is not to the advantage of both parties con- cerned to the advantage of neither. Sincerely yours. can form a protective reef for yourself by sending in your check for Why not take care of it today? Sincerely yours.26. Outside that reef. your "ship" of business can move smoothly and easily. The barrier which protects that rating is the promptness with which you meet your of obligations. The information we have in our possession indicates that you have been established in business for a tion of retiring your obligations in a satisfactory manner. Mr. sound credit rating is like that Inside Passage. Your check will make it unnecessary for us to Prompt attention to your obligations Otherwise. we made the customary credit investigation. while ships move safely and easily in the Inside Passage. to the local credit bureau.
It is testimony that they.COLLECTION LETTERS Our 149 credit manager had every confidence in your ability and willingness to and extended to you a liberal line of credit on the time-payment plan. We think of credit as a sort of mutual assistance pact to borrow a from the diplomats. we feel justified in objecting when you certainly object withhold payment for that length of time. and mail to us in the business reply envelope enclosed. therefore. Sincerely yours. as well as we. Gentlemen: We ers are very proud of the friendly feeling that exists between our customand ourselves. We consider the terms of as important delivery. phrase like to . or any other agreements made. Remember. similarly. are naturally interested in welfare. Won't you. find the relationship both pleasant and beneficial. Quality merchandise and service are our part. and binding as the believe these terms price. if we must be met with equal You would we were three or four weeks late in shipping you merchandise. and integrity. pay Now your account is delinquent the February and March installments of $50 each. send us a check immediately? Yours very truly. are anxious to see you protect the sizable equity estab- We lished in the equipment. We. we urge that you attach your check to the carbon copy of this letter.13 is more than payment a month overdue. your as the manufacturers of the equipment. totaling $100. Dear Sir: Your account of $37. and we have no doubt but that you are vitally interested in continuing to maintain a good credit standing. With this thought in mind. one Protect it. of your most valuably assets is a good paying record. and our many requests to you for payment have received no attention whatsoever. which we are also enclosing.
therefore. now seriously the next mail. Our concerted for both of us. This final letter may ex- daysthe press great reluctance to resort to this action. It consists of a brief statement that unless payment is received by a certain date usually within five or ten delinquent account will be turned over to a lawyer or reported to a local credit bureau. we once more remind you of the charges listed overdue.I5 o EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS efforts prompt payment. but its tone leaves no doubt that the creditor intends to go through with the necessary action. . Bender: Frankly. Your check for $50 within the next five days and satisfactory assurances about paying the balance of the account are what we consider your part. 6. The Assumption That Made to Pay the Customer Will Pay Only If He Is The final letter of the collection series uses fear as its moti- vating force. action is we collection. But it will be necessary for you to do your part. yours. We're sure we can count on your check by Sincerely yours. After are reluctant to turn your account over to our attorney for all. legal expensive and unpleasant. and it may well point out that there is a far more pleasant solution if the customer desires. can promote good business Because we tain feel confident that you want to cooperate with us and main- your credit rating. though lawyers do have a way of getting money. going to give you every opportunity to avoid outside collection of your account. Sincerely yours. The following are rather typical examples of the final letters of the collection series: Dear Mr. We are. below. It's your move next.
96. telling you that you of these have we had a reply. we shall take the necessary legal action to enforce payment. To none is left of letters from us. Yours very truly.44. You have had a number balance of $91.. Urgent. are too optimistic and We have begun to believe our judgment of you was overoptimistic because you have not even replied to our notices or the letters we wrote you regarding payment of your account. will settle the matter.. ness by thinking what his The reader can test its effectiveown reaction would be on receiving such a collection message as the following: We have been very patient. If misfortune or ill tainly have informed us health had prevented your paying us. motivates action. Conrad: We have tried to handle your overdue account in the most courteous way possible. Perhaps we much faith in our fellow men. Dear Mr. Please remit.COLLECTION LETTERS Dear Mr. Very important your check reach us by March Send today. owe us a Only one measure Unless . The and its message is brief. mand stage of collection because it attracts attention. telegram is being used increasingly during the latter It is particularly good in the destages of the collection series. 15. That be expensive for both of us. is now up to you. It Yours truly. received within five days. Pearson: Occasionally put too we judge a person wrong. * we receive your check within the next five days. . Your check for $27.. You have left just will one course open to us to turn the account over to our attorneys. you would cerin order to protect your credit.
chance to make good. In order to show the timing of one such series in relationship to the type of risk involved. frequency of the letters are not of primary importance. Assuming that the purchase has been made in the invoice was received then. the good risk or the old customer is going to be given a longer time and gentler treatment than the poor risk. Obviously. fair. TIMING THE. but the collection series should be planned in advance to deal with both extremes. COLLECTION SERIES success of the collection series depends largely on the frequency with which the individual letters are sent.EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS Must Your take action last if your remittance is not received within three days. The collector should know from the very beginning just what he is going to do and when he will do it. or poor risk. is Will take immediate action unless remittance received at once. and whether the collection series represents a retail or wholesale business. depends on many factors such as whether the customer is regarded as a good. details pertaining to the These the analysis below gives the procedure of a retail firm in deal- ing with collections. what is important is that there must be a definite plan as to the contents and timing of the individual letters in the collection series. The tim- The mg~~ofTfie letters. the following letters sent on approximately these dates: December and would be Poor Risk January i January 1 5 February i A statement An offer to make any necessary adjustment A letter explaining that the collection de- . whether he is engaged in a seasonal occupation like farming. in turn. Wire remittance today.
COLLECTION LETTERS 153 partment is puzzled by the debtor's silence and appealing to his sense of fairness February 15 expression of the collector's feeling that the debtor is not assuming proper responsibility. the collection man is puzzled. Appeal to the customer's sense of fairness May i An urgent expression of the collector's feeling that the customer is not taking the sales proper responsibility. credit An and a sales talk on sound March i A demand that payment be made by March 10 or the account will be turned over to an attorney for action Fair Risk January i February A statement i- March March April i i A statement A note assuming A is that the customer wishes to be reminded that 15 payment is due brief letter assuming that failure to pay the result of an oversight An offer of any necessary adjustment April 15 All previous assumptions were wrong. together with a talk May 15 A on sound credit demand that payment be made by May 25 or the account will be turned over to an attorney for action Good Risk January i February i- March i A statement A statement A statement .
154 April i EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS A is note assuming that the customer wishes to be reminded that April 15 A brief letter assuming that failure the result of an oversight payment is due to pay May May i An offer 15 of any necessary adjustment All previous assumptions were wrong. many different kinds of poor risks. There are. Such a schedule should not be rigid. The experienced collection man attempts to treat his accounts as individuals. he has a definite plan of action and he follows "LAUGHTER MAKES THE CHECK COME FASTER" the beginning of this chapter we spoke of the transformation in the collection letter from a routine announcement of At . tell When the of heavy expenses caused by illness or similar troubles. the fair risk This retail collection series almost five months. of course. His letters are designed to get an honest debtor writes in to liones^ payment has not been made. silence. the collector is willing to temper the wind to the shorn lamb. he remembers that financial emergencies and personal crises fall on all of us at one time or another. and the good risk seven months. but is when he met by evasions or stony it. fair risks. the collection man is puzzled. and good risks. Appeal to the customer's sense of fairness June i urgent expression of the collector's feeling that the customer is not taking the proper responsibility together with a sales talk 5 An June 1 A on sound credit demand that payment be made by July i or the account will be turned over to an attorney for action allows the poor risk two and a half months after the month of the purchase.
Following are a few examples of such letters. Some pay when Some pay when Some never do. The cies: City Club of Cleveland uses this to dust off delinquen- Dear Member: Man Dust is made of dust. letter to get results. and similar accounts. Be a man ! Your Treasurer Equally brief and effective are the following: Dear Mr. . Richardson: How do you do? due. humorous stories with the moral always pointing to the desirability of prompt payment often get remarkable results. They are ^usually substituted for the bills and reminders which make up payment due to clever to entertain or the early stages of the collection series. settles. overdue.COLLECTION LETTERS and humorous "stunt" letters designed amuse the reader into paying his bill. Such letters are strong on attention-arousing qualities and can be used in collecting small payments like effectively magazine subscriptions. Devices like the inclusion of a stamp make action easier. requests for payment with the words set to music or in the form of poetry are widely used. membership dues. to show that and humor can be used in the collection originality. How do you do? is Your balance Very $ truly yours. cleverness.
which means making a loud noise. Gentlemen : I have a hobby word "dun. One day I checked on the comes originally from the Old English word dunnen. All we a fair effort on your part to meet this indebtedness. It's just ask is a request for the $21. Mose Johnson Like Mose. Our collection department is "fixin' to kill" your insurance policy next Friday because your payment hasn't arrived. Mr. or a word of explanation. Now some folks would call this a dunnen letter but I assure you there's nothing explosive about it. we are in a predicament. Yours truly. he struggled to find words to explain his predicament and to win a pardon. Next morning the governor received Mose's message: Dere Guvner Dey is fixin to hang me friday and here it am tuesday. One prompt pardon of those printed forms in your checkbook is ideal for arranging a for a friend who will serve you 365 days a year. sentenced to the gallows for overzealous use of his Sitting in his cell. such as the next letters employ." It it is looking up word sources. spectfully. Anecdotes. are useful when they are Dear Sir: made relevant to the collection message: Mose Johnson was razor. .156 Say.67 which is past due on your account. Most 'spectfully. Smith EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS ! Are you still running around with my check in your pocket? Sincerely yours.
you were me I were you. Please send your check in P. is used.Q. A If different story this would be. 157 are such Dear Mr. but still getting results. $ due. Sincerely. but nevertheless poetical collection letters as the following: effective.D. This bill would not be overdue. And Since I am I And you are you. Dunn: If I were you And you were me.COLLECTION LETTERS Rather bewhiskered. name of a good lawyer in your community? Sincerely. the collection series: cluding Widely : this brief letter con- Gentlemen Will you please send us the We may have to sue you. Strong on attracting attention and motivating action letter: is this Gentlemen: .
But in the general work of col- That such lection. there behind is all substitute for the basic principle which lies collection series that the best way to collect money is no constantly to keep after delinquent accounts with a gradu- ally increasing insistence insistence may culminating in action. . Perhaps this result in a reply such as the following received in by a Georgia firm v answer to a long series of collection letters: Dear Here send Sir: is it.27 for oil purchased during February and March. it should be used. Sincerely yours. your money and you won't be one bit gladder to git it than I am to Please don't send me no receipt for I don't want to hear from you no more. But at least the debt was collected. letters: Dear Sir: Your account shows a balance due of $87. Yours truly. the writer of collecnality tion letters should not lose sight of the fact that his job is not entertainment but the collection of money. EXERCISES i.I S8 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS hope the above diagram of your check crossing this letter in the mail We is correct. letters as these are effective is due to their origiand sense of humor.20 right now. Where amusement gets results. If not. Nevertheless. you can make another diagram just as pleasing by sending us $19. Revise the following collection a.
you have made us wait three money. and we cannot afford to spend a couple of dollars on stamps and stationery to collect small accounts like yours. but taking such drastic action.26 for radio supplies. Why don't you send us a check and save us additional expense? Awaiting your remittance. Gentlemen: We cannot understand the attitude of your company regarding your past-due account of $312. Jones: We are getting very tired of sending you bills and collection letters for the $42. If months to deliver months for our you think that you can remain in business long without paying your bills. Our expenses in running a garage are heavy.COLLECTION LETTERS 1 59 We wish you would pay this promptly because this is the time of year when we must settle our accounts with the oil distributors and we need every cent we can lay our hands on. Dear Mr. 6. We should therefore appreciate your prompt payment. We confess that we have done everything possible to collect this amount during the past three puzzled as to just your account over to our attorney for collection. you have an unpleasant surprise coming to you. truly. Yours c. and we don't have it yet. How would you like it if we had taken three these supplies? Well. Sincerely yours.37 you have owed us for three months. we remain. and a half months and that we are what we should do next. Gentlemen: We should appreciate very much your sending us your check for $61. Perhaps we should turn we dislike . truly yours.25 to cover your past-due account. Very d.
You have sent him statements on April i and May i. Sorrell is a fair risk. favor be returned. "Give him credit for what he's done" those are the words in . Write the final letter of your collection series to be sent when none of the earlier letters has elicited a response from delinquent accounts. Massachusetts. 312 South Park Street. cepts an order until the time payment is due. railroad c. series 3. reminders. Durham. "My not be as long as yours. Write Mr. which might be used by a department store engaged entirely in 6. and a suggestion on June 15 that his failure to pay is an oversight. he wrote. he keeps wondering what percentage of his accounts will be paid on time. of the president of a tiny railroad who sent a pass to the of one of our largest railroads with the request that the president We heard When his request was refused. 7.EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS Won't you help us solve tance as soon as possible? Sincerely yours." Our may credit arrangements with you are as broad as they are long. Assuming that Mr. From the time he ac- d. owes you $319. who owes you a balance of $210 for an oil-burning furnace. All of letters your statements. this dilemma by sending in your remit- Draw up suitable form letters for the first two stages of a collection based upon the assumptions that the customer wishes to be reminded that payment is due and that he has simply forgotten to pay. but it's just as broad. James Sorrell. Write a collection : letter using one of the following as the opening paragraph a. The Chinese certainly deserve credit! Every year. Write the last three letters of a collection series retail trade. North Carolina. Mr.27 for furniture purchased oh March i. 6. offers of adjustment and similar have brought no response from Mr. 2. they pay a visit to all their creditors to square up their bills so as to start the new year with a clean slate. A credit manager's job is no bed of roses. 619 College Avenue. a reminder on June i. just before New Year's Day. Pittsfield. Deyo the next to the last of your series of collection letters for this account which is now five months overdue. 5. 4. write the letter which you might appropriately send on July i. Ezekiel Deyo.
in all probability. And when we gave you credit. When he did not make his second payment f $ I 5. student 11. After grad8. we were doing exactly that. I know would certainly expect at least a reply from us. What would you think if we had been four months late in delivering those suits you needed so badly in April? Write an appropriate collection letter to an alumnus who borrowed $600 from the school's loan fund while he was in school. Barton: I know that it has long been the custom for collection men to pretend that bills aren't paid because they have been "over" looked" or that the customer needs to be "reminded. Write an appropriate letter. five per cent a year. you therefore. appealing to your sense of fair play in asking you to that . As class Building. In I'm going to come right out and say that I think the reason you ignored our last letter and the previous statements is that you didn't have the money at that time. I am. this assumption? If the situation were reversed and we owed you money. there was no interest charge on this amount. it is necessary for you to write to 30 of your classmates 100 per cent of the record for its membership contributing and. will top all classes. Up until the time of his graduation. in this instance. your class will have 9. As business manager for a correspondence school. which we pay tribute to past performance. If these 30 make their contributions. Write to collect the amount due and attempt to induce him to complete the course. write a letter to a who signed up for a course in Electronics and made his first payment of 25 per cent of the cost. Y ou cu t off the instruction. the interest the total is computed at amount now due is $630. using the fact that the fund drive ends in one month as the occasion for writing. Am I wrong in this instance. uation. Which of the following collection letters ^ is more effective? Give reasons. a. Dear Mr. 10. chairman for the fund drive for the new Alumni Memorial who have not paid their pledges made during the campaign.COLLECTION LETTERS r6i e.
Analyze these letters in class to show the basic techniques. you would expect the same consideration from We are awaiting your remittance in the envelope enclosed for your convenience. and in return. By doing so. and the methods by which they attempt to get a reply from the debtor. truly yours. Were the situaus. interview several businessmen to find out their series policy of collection. Write to three or more concerns for a complete of collection letters which they use. Won't you. We have given you every consideration in this matter. delay? therefore.1 62 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS send us a check for $69. tion reversed. truly. You seem willing to ignore the fact that your credit reputation is at stake. That day is here. As a class project. relieve us of the unpleasantness of taking necessary action by sending us your check for $117.76 to settle your account. you jeopardize your whole future. Very b. Dear Sir: Surely you knew when you ordered automotive parts from us that you must some day pay for them. the varying degrees of insistence. we have not even had a reply from you.69 without Yours very 12. * .
ample evidence show the efficacy of the magazine. profession. But since we are concerned only or radio with correspondence. financial class. advertising managers for magazines present evidence that their rates are as low as a fraction of a cent per reader. It can reach any age group. whereas a sales letter that costs less than ten cents be cheaply produced and distributed in huge numbers. therefore. in building sales. Advocates of the sales letter argue that "if it can be sold at all. the questions that should interest us are: why that is the sales letter so widely used? and when is it most is effective? The chief reason for the extensive use of the sales letter it is the most selective of all advertising media. within reach of the United States Post Office can business has been built up enis tirely through mail advertising." On the other hand. newspaper. it can be sold by mail. must Although the controversy over the advantages of various forms of advertising hardly comes within the province of this book. newspaper. geographical area. the significant fact to those interested in business correspondence is that American firms annually send out millions of sales letters Anyone name several concerns whose also available to which justify the expense of their production. The sales letter may. or occupation that may be interested in a given product or service.CHAPTER IX Sales Letters The discussion of the merits of the letter as a sales medium compared with magazine. be regarded as the . or radio advertising has been going on for many years. Of course.
of a rather expensive within the class of "novelties. spark plugs." For type. For example. groceries. the sales letter may whether "the or "the shotgun" is more efficient in any abstract sense. he must determine which "weapon" he can use best in a very specific situation. newspaper. cameras and films. by its very nature the letter is a more personal kind of message than any other form of advertising. or those belonging such products or be compared to the rifle which picks out one potential buyer from many uninterested ones. it can concentrate on material bearing directly on the product or service being sold without wasting time or space on irrelevant entertainment or pictures. This fact answers our question as to when the sales letter may be used most effec- by tively. sales correspondence will carry a larger percentage of advertising than any other form. drugs. the media which reach the greatest numbers are employed. little or no money need be spent on uninterested readers. An intelligent analysis rifle" of the advantages and disadvantages of each advertising me- . for instance. that the reader of the sales letter has A second advantage is no other items competing for his immediate attention as does the magazine reader. Why? Because these and similar products are used or needed almost everybody. it is abun- dantly evident that manufacturers of toothpastes. In addition. All these advantages must. tires. or pictures. for the list of prospects is carefully selected.!64 least if EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS expensive form of advertising per potential customer. The question before the advertiser is not services. instead of to the shotgun which scatters its fire indiscriminately. Generally speaking. however. Finally. or radio advertising in preference to sales letters. it is best adapted to selling products or services of specialized appeal. who has before him on two pages several advertise- ments. be thought of in terms of specific products or merchandise. or a story. and hence. rather. and tobaccos use magazine.
we must first gain his attention. catch phrases in large type. commands. the individual sales letter devotes a paragraph to each of these functions. But whether a single letter or a long series is used. to: Attract the reader's attention 2. which for brevity we shall call atten- and action. desire. conviction. structure remains the same. One of the best methods by which the novice can learn the is fundamentals of sales-letter structure through an analysis of printed advertising to see in detail how advertising experts careful reading of the advertiseaccomplish these four tasks. . In order to make anyone act or think as we want him to. ments in any magazine will show that the underlying structure A is always the same although the details may vary considerably. Create a best of for the product or service Convince the reader that the product or service desirfc its is the kind 4. the basic tion. attention is attracted by pictures. For example. then convince him of the truth of what we are saying. make easy for him to act. The structure of the sales letter is designed to arouse these reactions in the reader. questions. and finally. 3.SALES LETTERS 165 his dium in terms of his own product will naturally govern ultimate choice. next create a desire for the product we sell. in a series of sales letters. THE STRUCTURE OF THE SALES LETTER So basic for almost is the structure of the sales letter that letter in it can be used which an attempt is made to gain any agreement or favorable action by the reader. Motivate action Frequently. one or more of the letters may be devoted to each of them. Its parts are it arranged 1 . or humorous illustrations.
letter To there is little exaggerate this resistance would be pointless. What devices may be used to attract the reader's attention? successfully in numerous sales leta pertinent question. action is made easy by suggestions such as "Send for booklet" or "Fill in the coupon below for added savings in your fuel costs" or "Go to your neighborhood druggist's today. conviction is attained by use of statistics. to capitalize on it. and similar devices. profit. samples. guarantees. interested in their mail and will certainly glance at a letter to see what it is about. he must make his opening paragraph attract sufficient attention to carry the reader through the rest of the letter. or economy of the product or service offered. Attracting Attention in the Sales Letter Because of the vast number of sales letters mailed annually. Thus." Such a survey of magazine advertising will suggest many ideas which can be used to good effect by this interesting the sales correspondent. the sales letter usually goes to a reader who has a general attitude of skepticism toward sales letters but a slight interest in the sales letter one immediately before him. Most human beings are. resist- Americans are developing a rather heavy armor of sales ance to the honeyed words and unique offers of the writers.1 66 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS desire is aroused by describing the pleasure. testimonials. yet doubt that this attitude on the part of the public results in a great many sales messages being tossed aside un- read. tests. the whole sales letter fails. however. The next few pages of this text are designed to make further suggestions as to various methods of attaining the four objectives of the sales letter. This beginning has the virtue of being direct and of arousing the reader's curiosity to read ters is One method employed . The writer of the can count on this initial interest. If the opening paragraph fails to arouse interest. i.
office Don't waste your time and energy in a sweltering the cool comfort of air conditioning! when you can enjoy To invite Romance. The chief drawback of it such an opening tricked or let that down gives the reader a feeling of being as in the famous sales letter that begins "Would you open a mint. ! For your family's Don't read this if on tires that are worn smooth ! you have all your labor troubles solved A "split" beginning arranged in such a is way as to attract maximum attention is widely used. don't drive experts. like to save a million dollars? But we can save you $3.SALES LETTERS further in order to discover the answer. splashing through cool gurgling streams.27!" Then you'd better The following illus- trate the "split" beginning: ." don't you? Do you have to pump all a clutch in your present car? How many times have you wished that you could find time to read the best sellers that your friends are discussing? this How about a different vacation year? Could you enjoy two weeks of riding through sun-dappled forests. Notice 167 how the fol- lowing questions develop a desire to read on: as carefully as Do you pick your financing plan you pick your car? it? Could you ask your boss for a raise today and get Were you born Did you Are you in July? sleep well the last time satisfied you were in New York? with the amount of money you save? You know about "twiggers. be yourself! So say Hollywood beauty sake. or just sitting among blue mountains? A to courteous sales command is another technique used frequently open correspondence.
hard pressed to feed his armies far from home. this sum was awarded to Nicolas Appert. One out a G. A statement of a significant fact or a quotation from an eminent authority or prominent individual will arouse interest the fact is if significant or the authority is known to the reader: Again. (Sales message for Dextrose as a preservative in the canning industry.000 francs (about $2. as attention- To tell a story simply for the .500) to anyone who could invent a process for preserving foods. In 1795.) Surveys show that the average executive increased his work capacity an hour a day by dictating his data. much Acousti-Celotex sound-conditioning can increase employee efficiency as as 10 per cent.E.) (Sales letter for a service station with a regular plan for changing oil and Don't spend a nickel on flourescent lighting unless you can answer "Yes" to these four questions. Years later.1 68 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS ARREST declining income ! Our financial service left ! is designed to do just that.500 began a million-dollar business. Napoleon offered 12. correspondence. Anecdotes are used almost too frequently arousing devices in sales letters. Champion Spark Plugs equipped the winning car in this year's Indianapolis soo-mile race. and details to an Edison Voicewriter. as in 16 previous years. You may worry about where you your hat but here's one worry you can avoid greasing.? of three has it ! Did you know that one out of every three electric water coolers sold is Napoleon's $2. who developed a method of sterilizing foods and sealing them hermetically.
Common is the technique of enclosing checks for the reader's time. To ter's purpose is to sell goods or services. Your reader may be an ardent and an anecdote about golf may well arouse his attenBut if the rest of your letter is intended to sell electric fans or bolts and nuts.SALES LETTERS 169 sake of the story is one way to entertain the reader. In general. as we have said. for In no other phase of letter writing is there more room originality than in the devices and stunts used in sales letters to attract attention. but if the reader is merely interested in a tricky device or clever opening which does not carry him along into the remainder of the sales message. pencils. employs the attention-arousing device as a means to that end rather than as an end in itself. it merely distracts the reader's attention from what is the central part of the letterthe sales message. tion. therefore. but it does not help sales because the story diverts attention from the main object of the sales letter. whether they pay for themselves in terms of added business should be the criterion in deciding whether to use them. the story should not only entertain but have some connection with the sales message. Sale<> letters are printed on all shades and all shapes of stationery from "the red-hot offer" on bright red stationery u the circular letter" on a round sheet of paper. Furthermore. cigarettes. the letaroused no interest at all. attract attention. stamps. . enclosures and unusual-looking letters are expensive to produce. keys. it is better to avoid such an unrelated opening. the correspondent has failed as badly as if his opening the sales correspondent. golfer. if it is irrelevant to the rest of the letter. such methods should be used with great care lest they give the to impression of cheapness or bad taste. and strange contraptions designed to arouse his curiosity. To be effective. The sales letter must. samples of products. he.
construction of the equipment. oils. free of pollen and dust" or an exposition of the way the apparatus works. "Your best friends won't tell you when you sales offend. if the letter is sent to dealers. humorous situations. we are made to want some product not on its merits alone but through such emotional appeals as." or by descriptions heavy- laden with adjectives to appeal to our aesthetic sense.1 70 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS 2. spark plugs. For instance. Refrigerators. Perhaps it is an unflattering commentary on mankind's rational power. his choice might be between a description of "the cool. if it is written to the general public. it will probably concentrate on the joys of air-conditioned homes or offices. The choice of the appeal is often governed by the type of product to be sold. The deciding factor in this instance would be the type of reader. Although . van Astorbilt of Newport. or play on our desire to "keep up with the Joneses" or the Hollywood stars. and exposition of its mechanism. Creating Desire for the Product or Service People can be made to desire things by two basic appeals the appeal to emotions and the appeal to reason." or through the threat of fear as. it will use a logical appeal with emphasis on profits. New York. but a glance through the advertising in most magazines will show how much more widely the emotional appeal is used than any automobiles. but often other form. "Mrs. Although the ish illustrations or slick correspondent usually cannot use the lavcopy of the printed advertisement. if he is sales correspondent for an air-conditioning company. and similar workaday products are sold through advertisements that depict pretty girls. These are frequently attention-arousing techniques. clean air like a mountain breeze. and Palm Beach uses our product exclusively. he has the same alternatives: whether to appeal to the reader's logic by expository and by argumentative methods or to his emotions by descriptive technique.
7. safety health The following excerpts show how sales correspondents direct their appeals to various desires: You want in affairs to keep live. 3. Certain human and appeals di- rected to these fundamental interests will reach the greatest number of readers. 1 8. medicine and science. 2. best for necessities. 1 comfort beautiful possessions 6. You want . 15. 10. concisely. about what is being discovered the news fully. 5. the emotional best for desires are rather universal. written. 4. intelligently informed about is the* rapidly changing world which we You want to be able to talk confidently about national and foreign affairs. about what painted. in being invented. 1 1 . 8. 17. One advertising agency lists these basic desires as follows: 1 . To make money To avoid physical pain To attract the opposite sex To conserve possessions To protect the family To be in style To be popular To avoid effort To save time To emulate other people To gratify curiosity For For For For For For For enjoyment the good opinion of others cleanliness 12. 1 4. 6. 13.SALES LETTERS there are I 7I numerous exceptions. voted. is it is generally true that the logical appeal luxuries or novelties. 9.
Convincing the Reader of the Merits of the Products or Service our analysis has revealed the technique of the sales be chiefly descriptive. book that you will want your secretary will want it your mailing department will wonder why they couldn't have had it Ipng ago. every room in your house will be comfortable. otherwise. and can save you. which may be defined as the art of influencing the claims others to accept our beliefs by an appeal to their reason. The function of the third section of the letter is to marshal support to show that far.) At sunset. inaccuracy. expository. You remember. This comfort can be achieved regardless of outside temperature or wind direction. letter to if stories are used to attract attention. or even narrative. how much you enjoyed vacationing here in Rip Van Winkle Land last year and it's just as peaceful and lovely this year. Wouldn't you like to have the most successful collection men in the country explain their methods to you. the haze over the Catskills is a soft purple. the reader will correctly assume that the claims are grandiose and the statements untrue. 20 to 25 per cent in fuel. We have concise encyclopedia of auihoritative postal knowledge compiled with the cooperation of the Postmaster General. . show you the actual letters they use. and tell you how economically they have solved their collection problems? We can help you by making it possible for you to eliminate guesswork. It is a a . they are: . (Appeal to econ- omy by a manufacturer of business machines.1 72 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS In the winter months ahead. Thus made for the product are true. three types of logical support may be used in sales. of course. Previous claims and statements must here be supported by fact or logic. This is the technique of argument. 3. and waste in every manufacturing operation. In general. with Chamberlin Insulation. at a conservative estimate.
Through the widespread use of testimonials by people in no way qualified to speak about various products. This consists of testimony by qualified experts concerning the product sold.SALES LETTERS a. A similarly seems to create sales. number of satisfied customers. objective. the average reader has become rather skeptical of this sort of support. b. part of the sales belong in the category of opinion "The Colderator the most economical refrigerator on the market today"). and specific data about the under actual working conditions all these give an product for the product. "If they are willing to let me try it out." Samples and guarantees are correspondence school may use analogy to show that a student has taken a given course and has gone on to he has done. In the sales letter. such as "Because Pan American do!" is inaccurate logic. c. this final division is somewhat arbitrary. But if the person quoted is obviously qualified by education. their truth is best shown in the third section of the letter by a solid basis of fact. Facts. or both to speak about the product. offer of the product may be made with the purpose of getting the reader to conclude. Tests ments about the made by independent experts. experience. but it coffee day it packed in air-tight was roasted. logic may be used to appeal favorably to the reader's trial reasoning or to get him to draw his own conclusions. The Use of Logic. you can great success. Since the statements in the first (i. "What effective.. his endorsement constitutes a very sound letter is sales argument. actual cost of operation of the product. 173 Expert Testimony. Widely used are causal relationships. statenumber of sales made within a specified pemention of the riod. it reaches you as fresh as the ." is tins. The conclusion.e. factual support to the claims made however. Since our logical faculty uses both facts and expert testimony on which to base its conclusions. it A must be pretty good.
4. efficient. in Over 6.000 installations are proving daily that Produc-Trol opens the door to a quick. and point out how he will benefit by taking this final The action. Perhaps Whichever of you may know. If your assurance that this fan will meet your you are not completely satisfied. stamped and addressed envelopes or the more economical business-reply . Our money-back guarantee return it is expectations in every respect. Their record shows dollars and cents the value of the Blank Secretarial Course. The easier it is for the reader to take this action. The following examples show specific applications of how these methods may be used to win conviction: Just to substantiate these statements.I 74 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS these three types of logical support he employs. Tests conducted by the Independent Testing Laboratory of Providence show after that this new fabric will wear longer and retain its color and shape more washings than any other fabric this famous research organiza- tion has ever tested. some of these people. or know of. hence. Motivating Action paragraph of the sales letter should do two things: offer a specific suggestion concerning the action the reader should take. accurate. you may and get your money back. the more effective the sales message will be. the sales correspondent should make sure that his statements do rest on a solid foundation and that his conclusions are logical. and economical system of complete control. I am enclosing a circular which contains the names of over a thousand graduates of our secretarial course who have voluntarily reported salary increases within the past year. easy. Our your policy is its insurance claims through four wars and a half eighty years' experience is your guarantee that secure in spite of unsettled conditions. Our company has paid off a dozen depressions.
the sales correspondent has failed in what is the acid test for his letter how many of his readers do take the suggested course of action? The following closing paragraphs from sales letters show various methods sold. used to motivate such action: You have nothing to lose and perhaps much to gain by using the en- closed card. Whether these devices are economically feasible depends largely upon the product being But the most inexpensive sales letter must do the two things mentioned above. We'll gladly send you a sample of each. The coupon below sign and mail it will bring you a copy without obligation. or the reader is told to call by telephone or to wire collect. like to see on approval? Just check them on our Won't you use the enclosed card to tell us when our representative may call at your convenience and with absolutely no obligation to you? The enclosed card requires only your signature to bring of entertainment. and enjoyment. are frequently enclosed. you 52 issues full Wouldn't you like to see the way this new machine might aid you to reduce overhead? Just sign and mail this post card for a demonstration. otherwise. Won't you today? Take a moment right now to check the items that interest you. information. Act issue. which do not require the payment of postage unless used. Your subscription expires with the next issue. now ! Sign the enclosed blank and you won't miss a single . Which models would you order blank.SALES LETTERS 175 permit envelopes.
The general technique used in such series is the same as that of the individual sales letter. as the series of sales letters is intended to do. The value of constantly keeping after the prospective customer. You'll find our new THE ENCLOSED CARD call. Just use the coupon we are enclosing. Here is the tabulation of the results: first 55 buyers were induced to purchase in the 82 the second year 33 the third year 10 the fourth year 3 the fifth year 8 the sixth year year 29 the seventh year 2 the eighth year 1 1 the ninth year . but its effect is intensified because the sales series can go into greater detail. is perhaps best shown by the following figures. are letters to never-ending. often three or four follow-up letters after the original message will suffice. As reported in American its Business. usually employed to sell costly products.176 Send for EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS this booklet today. since items cannot bear the cost of a whole series of sales inexpensive letters. JUST FILL IN No salesman will THE SALES Like collection series. sales SERIES which are known as messages frequently come in "the wear-out" series. Other series. such as those to dealers. The number of Such series are be included in the series cannot be dogmatically stated. savings plan intensely interesting. letters. one important company analyzed 350 of best buyers to determine how many years of sales effort were required to obtain their first order. designed by constant repetition to wear out the reader's sales resistance. for our interesting booklet.
Dave Schonberg Dear Mr. Sincerely yours.SALES LETTERS 14 the tenth year 70 more than ten years 33 177 could not be determined from the records. Brown: I said I don't charge much for good printing delivered on time. Dave Schonberg . individual letters forming the sales series should be kept The as brief as possible without sacrificing completeness. Sincerely yours. Brown: I deliver good printing on time. Dear Mr. One of the most effective sales series sent out within recent years is the following group of one-sentence letters dispatched at intervals of a few days by the Schonberg Printing Company. Sincerely yours. Sincerely yours. Brown: I do good printing. Dave Schonberg Dear Mr. Cleveland. Dave Schonberg Dear Mr. Brown: I don't charge much.
Statistics show that. there are a great many more benefits from a college education than the direct money value. you are deeply interested in the education of your chil- Therefore. But. and Mrs. Try to decide which human desire they are intended to appeal to and judge their effectiveness in terms of how well they moti- vate action by the reader: Dear Mr. college graduates may expect to earn about 40 per cent more than high school graduates and about three times as much as those who quit school in the grades. and action can be incorporated into a unified and coherent message." It will tell you how one if of our insurance policies parent. "A College Education for Your Children. the enclosed card will bring one of our repshow you how to plan now to give your children the benefits of a college education. conviction. Some time ago we went by He in the meantime. That's why you will want to read the enclosed folder. may play a part in your education pro- gram as a Then. consuming space. I wanted to get some definite figures for you on the value of education. And. Gray: When you you. Sincerely yours. read the enclosed folder. filled only with air waiting to be filled with his product. resentatives to you have any question. you will find why I am sending it to parents. about the space it. and if you're paying too much for air listen to this story : request to see a large user of set-up paper took us out to see a big room piled almost to the ceiling with these boxes. boxes. . desire.178 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS EXAMPLES OF GOOD SALES LETTERS The following sales letters show the various ways in which devices to stimulate attention. . of course. Good Morning: . He grumbled paying high rent for air Wished something ! could be done about . As dren. on the average.
SALES LETTERS 179 We showed him how it could How the air a month's supply of our hand-set-up or machine-set-up boxes minus would take no more storage space than one day's supply of the boxes he was using. He But saved money. but who have their trailers in a display setting that actually lifts the trailer in the minds of the prospect to a position above the ordinary. But very soon. being cramped for storage space if is just one of several good reasons These other good reasons we shall be for considering our type of boxes. One of the variations or adaptations of the plan is now being used by motor dealers throughout the country. One your dealers will be faced with point-ofof our display engineers will be glad to specific and show you how our display plan can be adapted to your product. booming business. sooner or later. as has happened in every other industry producing durable consumer goods. When that time comes. sale problems. Then. call drop us a line. Sincerely yours. good business to foresee problems before they arise and to take we believe you will be interested in a novel floor display plan we have created. like are enjoying a many other manufacturers of auto trailers. The To following letter got 55 per cent replies: the Executive in Charge of Eliminating Sales Resistance: Right now. If you agree that. He found them better for his purposes. . no doubt. most of the business will go to dealers who not only have a good trailer to sell. you. Since it is steps to solve them. glad to demonstrate you'll mail the reply card or call Prospect 3179. Yours very truly. people will be asked to "look at all three" before they buy. supply will exceed consumer demand. almost before it is expected. He bought our boxes.
Phones flash busy signals or remain unanswered. One is to be sure of living your allotted threescore-and-ten. White: Suppose that you had $5. Vieh : Are your employees losing precious time and inviting high costs by depending on verbal instructions? Oral messages often are misunderstood or forgotten. finally thought of it. Valuable productive hours can be saved and costly errors eliminated by letting the pen of Telautograph transmit written directions and data instantly of this Telescriber Service can be yours for a in expensive to and from any point in your office or plant. Do you realize that you have a fortune of many times $5.000 must stay in the envelope in the top drawer of your dresser. . The children might get at it. Before you went to bed you tossed the envelope into the top drawer of your dresser.000 in $100 bills in an old envelope. That fortune your life itself is the most precious thing in the world to yourself and to your family. You would have no peace of mind until that envelope was ! the old envelope into the trash barrel. Someone might throw A thief might break in.!8o EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS Dear Mr. modre- no investment machines and subsequent Use the enclosed reply card to acquaint yourself with the time and savings Telautograph can effect for your organization. you were unable to return home and reand no one at home answered your frantic phone calls All day long the $5. This morning when you went to work you forgot it. There's pair bills. I would like to discuss the other way with you within the next few days. When you cover it ! How you would worry The house might burn down. The speed and accuracy erate fee. It should be well guarded ! There are only two ways to realize fully your potential life value. May I have a brief interview when I call? Yours truly. in your safety deposit box. My dear Mr. Messengers loiter. money Yours very truly.000 not in an old envelope but wrapped up in you? It is your earning power! It is exposed to far greater hazards and risks of daily loss than that money at home.
and Gulflex Reg- istered Lubrication will be featured here. to give you better car perform- ance. HYGRADE-GULF STATION P. We know young enough and sound enough to pull an airplane off you can learn. Roberts: Have you ever wished for one sure thing that would increase tremendously your confidence in yourself? We have Now And it. longer. And it's no book on "How to Get Along/' in eight easy lessons. visit neighbors who will time Thursday. Services here cost in ordinary stations. fly please don't say to yourself that you couldn't learn to it's and don't believe for a minute that not safe until you've heard our story. any The occasion is the official super-service stations in Greater Buffalo. Friday. four Watch the newspapers Wednesday and Thursday new stations. Gulflube. 19. and for every one of our make it a point to drive in and Saturday. for pictures of our Dear Mr. It's private flying. don't say "No" too quickly. December 18. .S. Make it a date. We have something for you. opening of our four newest and most up-to-date no more than Now. Gulf Gasoline. you want your car to run better and last and Gulfpride motor oils. more than ever before. we know something about you. You it see. Frost : 181 You are invited ! We are anxious to have you drive in and look us over.SALES LETTERS Dear Mr. Drive in and say. You're the ground and set down again. and pay us a and 20. "Hello!" We'll be glad to see you. Cordially.
20 $1. to the value of $25. There's a feeling of power pulling and confidence and exhilaration that just can't be matched. But lately you haven't been in even to say "Howdy. we would rather pass this amount on to you. radios. simple as that.00 or more. Pay NOT ONE CENT down.50 check on the house.50 off the total of your purchases of $25. from our extensive stocks of nationally advertised clothing and shoes for the entire family or do your early gift shopping for such things as diamonds. multiply that by ten and you're Drive out soon to see us. us tell you this: you'll never know until you experience it. and if pilot." Come in and select anything you wish. new car down effortlessly eating up the miles? All right getting close to what flying does for you. as it would cost us all of $2." We want you to come back want to see you often want you to reopen your account.90 $2. 90^ $1. watches. a smooth. white concrete highway. You'll find directions on the enclosed card.80 $1. It's as Sincerely yours. and.70 $1. Your check is worth $2. We'll show you our new with our chief ships. It is better for us to have a dependable old customer on our books than an unknown new one.50 to open a new account. We'll be looking for you. he'll let you want to take a ride around the 'port you handle the controls in the air.30 $1. And You've driven a fast.60 So we say.00 $1. what an airplane into the air will do for you. We are so sure you will that we 40^ 50^ 60^ 70^ 80^ have enclosed our check for $2. we reason this way: you really are a valued customer.50 $1. "Here is a $2.10 We and are passing this it will YOU BET amount on to you as a saving come in mighty handy just now.1 82 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS let .10 $1. silverware.00 $2. won't IT WILL! it? .00 or more.40 $1.50 in full payment! Now. $1. THE MEINKE-ELDRED FLYING SERVICE Dear Bashful Customer: You've Earned 10^ Is it worth 10 cents a line to you to read this letter? 20$ 30^ We'll gladly pay that amount but only if you read the entire letter.
Haven't you longed for those blueberries that line the winding paths around the hotel? Or for that view of the soft haze around High Point? Your four weeks at the Mountain View last summer must hold a cherished place in your memory.SALES LETTERS $2. you are sending out a sales letter offering a three-months subscription for $10. 2. we'll you the same rates as last year. 3. Use a magazine advertisement as the source for the facts to be used in a sales letter for a novelty or an expensive product on the same product. offers Mountain View to.20 $2. EXERCISES 1.40 $2. Why to work more not store up more memories to gladden your future? You'll go back if you get away from it all for a while. demonth or $50 a year. more efficient. Write the letter. To get new subscribers months. examples of the best letters of the previous and actual correction of letters submitted. Myers : Early this morning the white mists were blue-green Catskills in the distance. lifting their curtains to reveal the Your summer home is at its loveliest now. Write a sales letter which would be effective in getting new subscrib- ers to your favorite magazine. "I'LL BE IN TOMORROW"? Henry Cordially yours. oil- burning heater.50 183 DID YOU SAY. It will include specific sugges- improving letters.30 $2. and if you want us reserve the same room. You are sending a sales letter to housewives for a new automatic this group. Bill Henry's Store Dear Mr. Why not wire your reservation to us today? Sincerely yours. You are offering a signed to sell for $5 a tions for new correspondence service to businessmen. Construct a letter which would appeal to . fit. 4. to this service.
Our guide goes to press on February 15. Sincerely yours. members of the incoming students at your you have been appointed the campus agent for Acme Portable Typewriters. Criticize any errors in the following sales letter designed to sell deal- ers space in a buyers' guide and convention: Gentlemen : We are not only disappointed but greatly concerned over our failure to receive your order for an advertisement in this year's Buyers Guide.1 84 5. Write a sales letter to school telling them that . As proprietor of the Beaver Club." Write an appropriate letter to be sent on the first of the month with this slogan as its opening words and stress the fact that your customers save 6 per cent through this policy of cash buying. letter that might appropriately be sent to professional men in Compose a New York City. and it Dam offers all kinds of sports as well as the opportunity for rest. stress the fact that it may be obtained with mathematical symbols on the 9.100 members of the Sheet Metal Association. EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS Write a letter which a business school might use to get applicants for a secretarial course. 1 We have sent you three letters to date. Vernorville. 8. Our coming convention and if they have display of products at the Hotel Green. 6. New York. You are sales manager for a department store which sells only on a cash basis and passes on to customers the savings effected by the elimination of all the details of credit and collection. If we don't hear from you before February 10. Among other advantages of your product. Your slogan is "No one owes a cent to Blank's. Your club is located in the beautiful Catskill Mountains only 90 miles from New York City. Your customers in this association will certainly be surprised at your failure to take space in either our Buyers' Guide or at the convention. we shall be forced to conclude that you aren't interested. but it really appears as not reached you. has been publicized since last November among our 1. 7. you are writing a sales letter to prospective guests. March 25-27. although they have not been returned to us.
poration.50. hunting. As junior member of the sales force of the Superior Insulating Coryou have been assigned a small village of 3. 10. Apex Vacuum Cleaner 'The peak of quality for more than Uses "cyclonic suction".SALES LETTERS keyboard and that this will be most useful in the two years of mathematics required at your school. S. Your service . Let us demonstrate it in your home. Write a letter to go to the mailing list of your local photographic trial basis. Canadian National takes you where you want to go. dirt. FM Minneapolis-Honeywell Moduflow "The new heating control system. You and two other graduates of your school have just organized the will prepare letters. d. No passport needed. you can offer a 10 per sales letter to the property office in cent discount.500 inhabitants as a Write an advance announcing the opening of your is trial territory. straight-flow suction which draws out the b. c. Wide choice of models. Send for free copy of "Comfort Unlimited with Moduflow. Your U. Information available on fishing. itineraries planned for you. reduces wasteful overheating at the ceiling. society offering your new exposure meter on a lo-day less Your meter costs $5 than other exposure meters and is guaranteed for five years against defective workmanship or materials. and automatic record changing with finest designs of furniture craftsmen. Can be easily and inexpensively installed on your present automatic heating system. of Magnavox Radio-Phonograph Combines "The choice great artists. high-speed motor and twothirty years/' stage fan that creates a powerful." Canadian National Railways "To everywhere in Canada." For your vacation this summer in Canada. dollar goes further in Canada." Captures the true musical tone of a concert-hall performance. village if insulation owners in the June and pointing out that installed during the summer months. it will maintain different temperatures in different parts of the house. 13. 12. starting at $214. facts Write a sales letter for any one of the following products using these and slogans taken from advertisements in an issue of a widely : circulated magazine a. Available in various period and contemporary stylings." Moduflow eliminates drafts. re- Complete Business Writing Service. 1 1 .
or other 14. when we move to a new get one while they last. or. each blanket has "U. of brown. We must dispose of this merchandise before July location. fraternity.00 in today's market. booklets for be sent to a selected list of executives. excellent quality material. Hurry down and Sincerely yours. Because of our vast buying power. the price is $25. These blankets are brand-new and could not be duplicated for less than $15. charts.95 each. You have been appointed campus agent for the Collegiate Sportcoat Company which specializes in sport coats with college. Use as the occasion for the letter the fact that Father's Day is one month from the date of the mailing. write a sales letter for . or tan. S. is tures of children in their homes. Navy'' stamped on showing they are genuine. coats are well tailored. 15. The and are available in green. 1 6. The charge 17. Rewrite the following sales letter: Dear Mrs. Write a sales letter to ports. appropriate insignia sewed on the pocket. i. Choose a product or service which you have used for some time and it. They simply must be seen it. to be appreciated. Cole: You are probably aware that army and navy items.1 86 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS any kind of business. we are able to offer these blankets at the remarkable price of $10. Right we have purchased a large number of surplus now we have on hand thousands of all-wool blankets of the same fine quality used by the navy during the war. mail your check with the enclosed order blank and the blanket will be delivered to your home. Write a sales letter to the leaders of the various is organizations in your school to get a minimum order of 10 coats from each group. but for orders of more than 10 with the same $22. The price for a single coat insignia. Write a sales letter for Photo Service which specializes in taking pic- $10 for six 8 by 10 inch pictures to be selected from three different proofs. if you prefer. Act now while the supply lasts.
187 Select an advertisement which achieves conviction through the use of samples. nature study. Your community forum has arranged three six-week courses. trial offers. tennis. and dramatics. For your reading pleasure. Assume that you spent three summers in this camp and write a sales letter to the parents based on your own experience.200 pages of mystery and detective fiction. down the road at 55 miles an hour when suddenly Bang! Your front tire blows out. write a might be sent to a selected list of 250 people. As secretary for the group.SALES LETTERS 1 8. Great Books of Today. statistics. The director of the camp has supplied you with the names of 55 parents in your vicinity who might be interested in having their children attend the camp. the $5 fee for 19. Ever forget an appointment? You can't with the new Blank Memopad on your desk! . each course will pay for the lecturers. we've just published a new Omnibus are driving You for Mystery Fans with 1. c. For 25 years we have been aiding home owners in this community with just such problems. that you've bought that lovely new home. the lawn. letter that 20. This is a nonprofit community project. As counselor for a boys' or girls' lucrative commission 2 1 . riding. summer camp. and the landscaping that form its setting. you are going to become interested in the shrubbery. You'll wish then that you had our new blowout-proof tires. by the world's greatest writers Now d. b. or testimonials. Write the rest of the : sales letters for which these are the first para- graphs a. you can obtain a by getting ten new students for the camp. which has facilities for swimming. on Better Speaking. and write a sales letter based upon the advertising material. meeting hours each week. and two Painting for Fun. boating.
yet a surprisingly large number of per- . Hence. apologetic. or is read hastily or not at all. The advertiser can hardly be expected to read all of these carefully. five hundred applicants but actually one out of ten or twenty good letters. based upon the assump- tion that the job seekers possess the essential qualifications to fill the position for which they apply. a "help wanted" advertisement in an urban newspaper for a position with a moderate salary will bring hundreds of letters wordy application in response. All of this discussion is. In normal times. His technique can be imagined a glance through all the letters. a good letter of applicathe one hopeful fact in a typical situation like the one just tion. Despite this importance. Only the tion for jobs in good letter can survive the keen competithe modern world. the others tossed into his wastepaper basket. the trite. a small pile of perhaps ten or twenty kept on his desk. the odds affecting the chances of a good letter are not one out of. Then he reads the ten or twenty good letters carefully and selects five or ten whose writers will be interviewed. It should not be neces- sary to say that even the best letter will not get a job for an unqualified applicant. few applicants have a clear conception of the conditions their letters face and of their function.CHAPTER X The Application No other letter the individual Letter write has a greater potential chance of affecting his entire life than the letter of ap- may plication. described is that so few letters out of the hundreds received For the job seeker who can write will really be effective. of course. let us say.
how- ever. Third. Second. how can he write the sort of letter that stays out of the w^astepaper basket? First. he must remember that the purpose of his letter is to get an interview. Outside assistance of this sort letter writer makes it invaluable. as istic has already been indicated. The application letter is the opening step in the campaign to get a job. the writer has much greater difficulty in getting an ob- of himself than of some product. The success of the letter can be measured solely by whether the interview is granted. investigations of references. for few desirable positions are obtained directly by letter. provided the he wants constructive criticism plain that is . If it fulfills its purpose. and closer scrutiny of qualifications. the job seeker will do well to think of his application as a sales letter.THE APPLICATION LETTER sons seem to believe that for ^9 by a lucky break they can get jobs which they are not trained. there will be successive steps in the form of interviews. jective point of view words of Robert Burns are especially appropriate: The "O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie To see oursels as others see us!" Since this gift is us not to be acquired overnight. if the letter is weak. he ought to have a realconception of the sort of competition his letter will meet. the campaign ends there. Every job seeker will avoid wasted time and effort by not applying for positions for which he is only parall fitted. the applicant will profit by showing his letter to his friends or his teachers to see whether his self-analysis coincides with their opinions of him. In the application letter. Theirs are the first letters to be thrown away. But if we tially or not at may now assume that the applicant does have the proper qualifications for the job. it sells his services. The same sales principles and technique should be used as were discussed in Chapter IX on Sales Letters. instead of a product.
his desires. The successful writer must forget his hopes. he should call on the objective advice of friends or teachers in checking his answer many to this question. likes. "What qualifica- do I have which would make employer?" To useful to a prospective avoid the indulgence or complacence that me of us use in analyzing ourselves. yet the writes without this attitude fails completely. he hopes to obtain the services of an individual who may be useful or profitable to him. attention to the applicant's likes or dis- He attitude in the application letter consists of taking the prospective employer's viewpoint and writing in terms de- The you signed to appeal to it. point The difficulty in injecting the you attitude into application letters of from a fundamental difference in originates view between the applicant and the prospective employer. pay little can. Since this is the most personal business letter he will ever compose. tions He should ask himself. "What does this writer offer which will prove useful or profitable to me?" therefore. Nowhere is it more difficult to job seeker who obtain than in the application letter." The prospective employer cares little or nothing about such wishes. his dislikesnot an easy thing to do and show his reader what personal qualities or education or experi- ence he has that will make him a valuable employee. His criterion is. His function is not to give out jobs but to make money. THE YOU ATTITUDE IN THE APPLICATION LETTER The need for the you attitude has been stressed throughout our discussion of every type of letter thus far. the writer's thoughts run in terms of "how badly / need work" or "how intensely / dislike my present job" or "how much / would like to work for a company like yours. His letter .190 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS rather than flattery.
awaken desire. THE THEORY OF THE APPLICATION LETTER We have already mentioned the similarity between the ter of application let- and the sales letter and the need for the ob- seeker. nor can the applicant use the same glowing terms to describe himself that the sales writer uses for his product unless he wants to be accused of excessive conceit. These are. most effective method of creating desire. the task of attracting attention cannot be accomplished very effectively by catchy slogans or humorous stories in the application letter. Although occasionally used. humorous stories or catchy lines are way to attract the employer's atten- tion is by a general statement of the service the applicant can render. constitutes the 3. Samples of work done or statements of . the external evidence brought in to vouch for the truth of the applicant's statements. a on the part of the job few minor modifications must be made. References are the usual is way by which con- viction gained in the application letter. For instance. the best 1. but minor differences. they are.THE APPLICATION LETTER 191 must appeal to the self-interest of the employer by showing him what real service the applicant can render. the following analysis shows how the general principles of the sales letter may be translated into terms useful to the appli- cant: Attention. In practice. offer conviction. Desire. and stimulate action just as the jective viewpoint sales letter does. 2. phrased in terms of how they may be of specific use to the prospective employer. the applicant's letter should be arranged to attract attention. in effect. A more detailed statement of the qualities re- ferred to in the opening paragraph. Conviction. In theory. however.
the letter should close by suggesting an interview at the em- ployer's convenience. it usu- two parts: A comparatively brief letter of three to. THE FORM OF THE LETTER The ranging self specific his letter problem which every applicant faces in aru is this: How can I \vrite a letter which is complete enough to include all the necessary details about myand yet is sufficiently brief to get the reader to finish it?" practical objection may be raised that the letter follows the above analysis in detail is far too long. but such letters are now considered oldfashioned and cluttered. To The very which list all the details of one's education. personal qualities. or four paragraphs featuring the best qualifications of the applicant. experience. and references. mits a A This per- complete . personal qualities. The modern letter of application must letters of be both readable and complete. business experience. To meet this standard. he wishes personal record sheet (or resume as it is sometimes called) which gives all the necessary details about his education. 4. and references' names and addresses may require at least a page and a half of tiresome detail in applicant's which lost. Action. Make it easy for him to grant the request by enclosing a self-addressed post card or mentioning a telephone number at which the applicant may be reached. statement of his entire career. the more important qualifications might be For- merly. application followed this outline through to the bitter end. ally contains 1 .I9 2 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS can be backed up by references is specific accomplishments that may also be used. This gives the job seeker an opportunity to emphasize whatever characteristics 2. Since the desired action usually an interview.
These advantages suffice to make the combination of letthe details about an applicant and it remains as a ter and personal record sheet the most eff ective technique of seeking employment by mail. Fourth." This attitude ignores the solid fact that hundreds of thousands of students and graduates annually find positions in business and industry despite nique to their situation. the personal record sheet presents in a concise form. A SPECIAL Students in WORD TO STUDENTS colleges or universities are sometimes inclined to overemphasize the difficulties of adapting this application tech- Their actual experience is necessarily limited. they are up against the old vicious circle of "You can't get a job without experience. The two extremes to be avoided. in a letter short enough to be readable. on the one hand. Third. the applicant who wishes to make the best presentation of himself will certainly use it. own and they feel that their lack of experience. what students should stress in their application letters and personal records is their education. ready fications and availability in the event that a vacancy does occur. this form of application is adaptable. all how he may be reached. reminder of the job seeker's qualiHence. . Once a satisfactory personal record sheet is drawn up. the letter to accompany it may be varied to meet position for the specific employment situation. he can convey a far greater amount of information about himself in a readable form in this combination of letter and personal record. The First. Obviously. it can be used over and over again. and you can't get experience without a job. those qualities which best fit him for the specific which he is applying.THE APPLICATION LETTER 193 are fourfold. Second. it advantages of this form of application enables the applicant to feature. \vhich can be filed easily. according to personnel men. are apoloor assuming gizing for lack of experience.
) Did you earn any part of your school expenses? Did you work during your summer vacations? If so. If you are both Phi memBeta Kappa and Big Man on the Campus.EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS that the world is the college graduate's oyster. . and debating. humility or boundless properly the feature of both your in having tion are: Questions that a prospective employer might be interested you answer regarding your school or college educa- What specific courses value in the work for have you had which might be of which you are applying? (But don't How give the impression that you now know all the answers! ) did you get along with your fellow students? (Don't express your own opinion on this subject. the per- sonnel man can draw his own conclusions. When approached without either undue conceit. publications. If you were in the lowest third of your class. to bership in Phi Beta Kappa. Be sure to include a description of the type of work you did. letter your education is and personal record sheet. a golden silence is probably the best policy! ) What activities did prefer a person you participate in? (Many employers with broad interests in student organiza- tions. on the other. this may be listed under "Experience" on your personal record sheet.) How were your grades? (Mention the third of your class you were in or what scholastic honorary societies you belonged to. you have all the answers to the old argument of whether studies or activities are the most important if better not sound as side of college life but you'd you are now ready to inherit the earth because of these accomplishments. if you've been elected to offices or membership in organizations. like glee clubs.
it should have the you attitude. 2. 207. applicant are contained on the enclosed personal 3. letter started. as the hundreds of thousands can "If I could only get this testify who have told their teachers. On pages 206. The Opening Paragraph probably the most difficult part of the whole technique. the rest would be easy. and 208 examples of personal record sheets and an accompanying letter are shown. it Beginning the application letter is should feature the applicant's best quality." Ideally. letter is Its This contents should include: 1 . Cartwright on pages 206 and 207 is designed primarily as a guide for school and college students who must stress their educational preparation rather than their working experience. short paragraph amplifying this opening statement or the reader's stressing other qualifications that might appeal to A interests. the opening paragraph should be direct. but it leaves the details to be filled in by the personal record sheet. A 4. A request for an interview. One of the simplest ways of attaining these qualities is by a summary beginning: . A direct opening statement of why the applicant's trainmay be profitable to the pro- ing or education or experience spective employer. THE LETTER TO ACCOMPANY THE PERSONAL RECORD used as a device to feature the job seeker's best qualifications. reference to the fact that complete details about the record. It follows the structure of the sales letter.THE APPLICATION LETTER 195 These questions listed on page 194 should suggest the way in which the detailed presentation of your educational experience should be approached. The personal record of Robert C.
colorless. or completely useless openings No you should like to be considered as an applicant for trite. I avoids the possibility of using such as: negative. me a training in business Because of pany. My five years' experience in the collection I department of the Black Com- pany makes me confident that want them solved. Two years at Blank Business School have given administration which should be useful to you. I should like you to consider my qualifications. Furthermore. in this my I feel that I three years' experience as a salesman for the White Comcan qualify for the sales position which you advertised morning's Boston Herald. spend so much time in introducing themselves that they lose the read- . Don't bother telling him such trivial details I happened to be reading the Washington Star and saw your advertisement for a secretary. own business Applicants are usually too much concerned with the introductory section of their letters and. colorless a position as clerk with your firm. these summary beginnings make the transition to the second paragraph very simple because it logically should give further details about the education or experience referred to in the opening paragraph. Although such beginnings are not too original. From the writer's standpoint. the summary beginning attitude. they will arouse the interest of an employer who is seeking applicants. can solve your collection problems as you Four years of college at the University of Michigan plus two summers of work with the Brown and Brown Company have given me a knowledge of the theory and practical application of engineering problems.I9 6 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS seven years in the credit department of the Blank My me Company qualify for a position as your credit manager. Don't what is tell him really his In the depression of the Thirties. Now that business is better you are undoubtedly adding to your staff. consequently. you had to let many of your salesmen go.
"would never be missed." Another effective way to begin. but the fact that a friend. the three opening paragraphs above. Moore has suggested in The ultimate on the name or customer is mentioned this value of such beginnings depends almost entirely used. it has the desirable effect of forcing the third A type of letter. is the "name beginning. applicant to plunge into the middle of his most salable qualities without any preliminaries or introduction. A good test it. Can your returns? I sales force write letters which get a minimum of five per cent have done that consistently and with a more highly specialized product than yours. J. will invariably win consideration for method of opening is by a question intended to the reader's attention.THE APPLICATION LETTER er's interest before the preliminaries are concluded. Can your stenographers I take dictation at the rate of 120 words a minute? can and I am anxious to prove that such speed does not lessen my accu- racy. friend. if you have the person's permission. Mr." which mentions some business associate. of an introductory paragraph is to read the letter without if something important is omitted from the letter with such a reading. While this type of beginning challenge sounds rather abrupt. or customer of the prospective employer. business associate. . J. like the vari- ous pests in Gilbert and Sullivan. Mr. that I might be well qualified for sales work your International Division because of my command of four languages and my background of travel abroad. My college education and three years as a will private secretary in a legal firm should merit your consideration. James Johnson of your advertising department has told me that you soon need another secretary. the opening paragraph is important and says something direct.
" In the little village in a "handyman" who was I. it should be used with caution. "like what I'm doin' " merged into a vast corporation. otherwise. paragraph or two on an anecdote or tricky statement to tells him little or nothing about Maine where I used to spend my summers. But he loved to fish.I9 8 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS Could you use a general utility infielder? A man who could fill in at any of the positions on your staff and relieve you of the worries and delays caused by absences of personnel? applicant who uses this question beginning should first be absolutely certain that his qualifications do answer the question which he himself raises. "I like what I'm doin'. his letter accomplishes The nothing. my qualifications for a beginning may happen to appeal to some prospective employers. there is the trick or stunt method of beginning. first it is an ineffective device since it wastes the arouse the reader's interest but the applicant. For that reason. Specific eduplify the featured quality cational experiences or personal qualifications or the The middle names of . Actually. too. The Middle Paragraphs paragraphs of the application letter offer no great difficulty. he rejected it by saying. but from the job seeker's viewpoint. They contain detailed statements which amof the first paragraph. Finally. and most of but the company I work for has been its employees will soon be out of a job. I hope you will consider position as a junior engineer with your organization. This may happen to strike some reader's fancy. and when he was offered a good general repair steady job. Although these this two paragraphs are ineffective from the applicant's point of view because the real purpose of the letter is mentioned only after two paragraphs of preliminary explanation. there was in much demand among the summer residents for work.
May I come in for an interview? You may reach me at the address or telephone number given at the top of my personal record sheet. The Closing Paragraph closing paragraph must strongly suggest something for the prospective employer to do. his final paragraph ought to make it easy for the prospective employer to grant one. there are probably questions that you still want answered. Although I have gone into considerable detail May and I show you actual examples of my work? Just sign the enclosed card I shall call for an appointment at your convenience.) in this letter. . May I have an me when I may interview? see The enclosed self -addressed post card will tell you at your convenience. A tion should always be made that the enclosed personal record sheet gives complete information. Notice stronger the above paragraphs are in motivating action than the following timid or colorless endings which the applicant should avoid: I trust that how much you will grant me an interview. Since the applicant usually wants an interview.THE APPLICATION LETTER the ! 99 products sold should be given as proof that the statement of first menparagraph rests on a solid foundation of fact. (This letter encloses a stamped and addressed post card on which the prospective employer merely fills in the date and time when he can most con- veniently see the applicant. The following closes are effective: The May I have 15 minutes in which to substantiate these statements and to answer your questions? You may call me at Garfield 6680.
to suggest a means by which The the interview can be arranged without too much difficulty.) possible that within the next month? at your convenience. gest that he ployer. barring that. How should the letter close when the prospective employer is at considerable distance difficult always a one to from the applicant? This situation is which there seems no completely correct solution. the great majority feel expression that it places too much responsibility on them.200 I shall EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS hope to hear from you soon.) . collect. Many an applicant has obtained a job through being willing to take a five. please let * me come in for an interview. will bring me to see you be in Wilmington on May 4 and 5. Would it be con- venient to talk to any of your concerning the possibility of em- ployment? (This Is it is obviously a student making good use of his Christmas vacation. following closes may suggest methods of handling such a situation: I shall be in New York from December 22 to January staff there 3. The ideal way is for the applicant to be invited for an interview or. I shall you or some member of your staff will be in this vicinity A telegram to me. The so tangible an of interest in their company. They fear that come While a few employers would welcome job seeker cannot very gracefully sug600 miles to interview the prospective em- the applicant is from coming.or six-hundred-mile trip to "Wilmington" on his own responsibility. May I see you on one of those days? (It is altogether possible that the applicant's sole reason for being in Wil- mington is the chance of getting this job. but it is usually better not to tell the employer this. If you feel that I may be of use to your organization. likely to conclude that since he is not deterred he certainly must have excellent prospects of getting a job.
Inc. I performed many different duties. President The William C. . Wright: Could you use a dependable secretary? During the past two years I have been with Jennings and Sessions. type rapidly and accurately. may I have the opportunity of seeing you? 2 OI (name of When you are there. I can take shorthand. ably The following letters show how some of these suggestions may be incorporated into complete applications a This would ordinarily be interview desired or accompanied by personal record sheets: J. act as a receptionist. Bryan Company 3190 West Canal Street Boston. of this city. I should be grateful for an opportunity to talk with him. If none of the above can be adapted to the applicant's needs. Because our office was small. he can probmake some specific suggestion as to how they may meet. very weak conclusion when an when the company is within easy reach. But when the applicant and prospective employer are hundreds or even thousands of miles apart. he can always close by saying: I hope that my is qualifications will merit your consideration. Mr. Wright. Does a representative of your company plan to visit this school? If so.. in to see May I come you at your convenience? Sincerely yours. and write letters dealing with routine situations. Massachusetts Dear Mr. D. If he is indeed interested in the writer's qualifications. The enclosed personal record will give you complete details about my education and personal qualifications. operate a switchboard. such a close may prove effective because it leaves the next move up to the employer.THE APPLICATION LETTER You or your associates will undoubtedly be in the nearest large city) during the next few months. this gave me an excellent understanding of the routine of an office.
and references. since I have been active in As the enclosed personal record many civic I and fraternal organizations. The information included in the sheet is usually arranged under the headings: education. I am a college graduate and have taken several graduate courses in Marketing and Sales Organization. as my references introducing. Sincerely yours. Centered at the top of the sheet are the name and address of the applicant. experience. however. Certain general characteristics are. as a sales manager. My personnel rapidly but indicates.202 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS : Dear Mr. personal details. I am widely known among businessmen in this city. THE PERSONAL RECORD SHEET is Perhaps the greatest advantage of the personal record sheet that it can be adapted to any individual's needs or experi- ence. show. Stevens 10 years' experience as a salesman for the Green Wholesale Grocery Company should qualify me for a position as sales manager with your com- My pany. invariably the same. in the upper left-hand corner the telephone number or a small photograph of the job seeker. the fixed parts of such a record look like this: . I could use my own experience in training efficiently. May have an interview to substantiate these statements and to answer your questions? You may reach me at Main 4137. and my wide acquaintance among grocers and food buyers in that section should be valuable to you in marketing the new line of Premex Foods which you are will record as a salesman has been excellent. Thus. I have traveled in western Massachusetts for the past six years.
. Oberlin College. 1943. Bachelor of Arts degree. The headings may be made to stand out by capitalthe letters or type. If his should be placed list their accompanying letter stresses his experience.THE APPLICATION LETTER Personal Record of 203 Telephone Elmira 1246 John Smith 12 August 22. and wherever possible no gaps in the applicant's record should be left unaccounted for. Many job seekers business experience in reverse order on the sound chiefly interested in recently. Since the material is theory that a prospective employer what the applicant has done most on the personal record sheet need not be expressed in complete sentences. Dates of educational and business experience ought always to be given. 1947 Main Street Elmira. New York Education Experience Personal Details References No pains should be spared to make the personal record sheet pleasing in appearance izing all by keeping it well-balanced and uncrowded. The following sample shows the way the material under education and experience might be arranged: Education 1935-1939 1939-1943 Cleveland Heights High School. 1939. The underlining in either black or red order of parts ought to be arranged to fit the appli- by cant. graduated June. June. that first on the personal record. there is room for great detail and for attractive spacing.
but from the job seeker's viewpoint it is better to aim at comof furnishing an inadequate picpleteness than to run the risk ture of his interests and characteristics.204 Experience EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS January. number and ages height. church affiliation. I acted as proofreader and general news reporter during the leave of absence of a Employed this regular member of the staff. 1945 as reporter on the Cleveland Heights Journal. the above example. Hence. He may save space by arranging it as follows: . This personal material can be arranged in almost any fashion to suit the individual's needs. this gave me the opportunity to see all the operations of the printing business in some perspective. to June. terests or hobbies which might give the employer a clearer conception of the applicant's character. weight. 1943. 1944. state of health. 1945. My and duties include writing copy for electrical appliances present new accounts. This offered the chance to learn general problems of the job duties consisted of helping out in printing business. Don't merely say clerk. Employed my My any department where extra help was needed. but describe what the specific duties of these positions were. Personal Details heading is regarded as a miscellaneous section containing anything not classifiable under the other The no general agreement among personnel men and prospective employers as to just what should be included. to Employed soliciting as copywriter for the Blank Company. it is best under Experience to tell not merely the title of the job but to specify as exactly as possible As in what its duties were. and any inif of children any. There is ought to include statements concerning the applicant's age. marital status. June. June. 1944 as proofreader in father's print shop. was a temporary position which I took for the journalistic experience it offered. salesman. to January. or chemical engineer. the listing headings. nationality.
i 205 inch. James Dwyer. 185 pounds. USNR. The following arrangement is a satisfactory one: References The following men have agreed to act as my references: Mr. the personal details record sheet seems to have too little material may be listed in some such manner as the following: Personal Details Age Height 6 ft. photography and stamp collecting. The full title and complete address of each reference ought al- who ways to be given. where the references are local. their telephone numbers may also be listed. 6 feet. Common courtesy requires that the consent of the individual used as a reference should be obtained in advance of the actual application. and Methodist. 25. New Jersey Telephone: New Brunswick 2-0200 . hobbies golf. or character. weight. Excellent Church Hobbies Sports Unmarried Stamp Collecting Tennis. Weight Health Marital Status 185 Ib. i 25 in. education. New Jersey Telephone: Essex 2-3267 Professor Arthur Wright Department of Physics New Rutgers University Brunswick. Golf Under References least three are placed the names and addresses of at can testify to the applicant's business people experience. unmarried. Nationality American Veteran USNR Methodist Photography. excellent.THE APPLICATION LETTER Personal Details Age. health. President The Blank Company 2034 Market Street Newark. sports tennis Or if the personal on it. veteran. American. height.
EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS
Mr. Arthur Smith, Attorney
326 Main Street East Orange, New Jersey
Telephone: Orange 3-6913
The example on page
sonal record sheet looks
how a well-organized and material it may include.
following personal record sheet and accompanying letter are a guide for students who must stress their education, emphasizing specific courses and school activities. Personal Record of Robert C. Cartwright 271 College Street Lafayette, Indiana May 15, 1947 EVergreen 3926
EDUCATION 1937-41 George Washington High School, Eastport, New York. Graduated, June, 1941. I expect to receive my dePurdue University. 1941-43 and gree of Bachelor of Science in Metallurgical 1945-47 Engineering in June, 1947. Major Courses Studied Fundamentals of Metallurgy Metallurgy of Iron and Steel Ferrous Alloys Nonferrous Alloys Other Courses that Would Prove Useful in this Position Fundamentals of Writing Creative Writing The History of Science Psychology Activities in College Glee Club three years Student paper three years Speakers Bureau two years Member of Tau Beta Pi and Blue Key Scholastic Record At present I am in the upper third of my class scholastically; during my first two years I earned approximately half of my college expenses working in the bookstore and library. EXPERIENCE I served for 25 months in the U.S. Army and 1943-45 was honorably discharged in July, 1945, with the rank of second lieutenant.
THE APPLICATION LETTER
June to September During my summer vacation, I worked as a counselor at the Lakeside Boys' Camp, Clifton, Michigan, where I had the chief responsibility for 24 boys, ages 12-15. PERSONAL DETAILS Age, 27; height, 6 feet, 1 inch; weight, 185 pounds; health, excellent; unmarried; member, Presbyterian church; hobbies singing, writing, and photography. REFERENCES Professor Kenneth H. Dewitt Head of the Department of Metallurgy Purdue University Lafayette, Indiana Dr. James C. Struthers, Director Lakeside Boys Camp Clifton, Michigan Mr. William E. Knight, Principal George Washington High School Eastport, New York
this personal record, the student
excellent letter with
"name beginning" and
closing paragraph aimed
Dear Mr. Bateson:
Professor Kenneth H. Dewitt, head of the Department of Metallurgy, has me that your agency is looking for an engineering graduate with
the ability to write about technical subjects for nontechnical readers.
My four years at Purdue have given me a thorough foundation in such fundamental sciences as physics, mathematics, and chemistry, in addition to specialized courses in metallurgy. I have also taken as many courses in English and psychology as possible with the expectation that I would enter
the field of technical sales or editing following
graduation this June.
enclosed personal record sheet will show that I have been interested in various extracurricular activities, which have given me useful experience.
an interview at your convenience?
at the address or telephone
at the top of
EXAMPLE OF A PERSONAL RECORD SHEET
Chester C. Parsons 6710 Parkwood Place St. Louis, Missouri
EXPERIENCE January, 1946 , Employed as an assistant to the chief engineer of the American to present Food Corporation, St. Louis, Missouri. My duties included compiling reports for the chief engineer on production in the various departments. I also made time study analyses of production methods.
October, 1943, Served in the U. S. Coast Guard as a yeoman 2/c to November, 1945
Beaumont High School; graduated June, 1940 Central Business Institute Business Administration Course; graduated June, 1942
June, 1942, to Worked as a traffic rate clerk for October, 1943 the Continental Engineering Company In of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. this position I started as an assistant in the traffic department and later prepared and filed claims for overcharges.
PERSONAL DETAILS Age, 25; height, 5 feet, 9 inches; weight, 165 pounds; health, excellent; married, no children; American; church, Episcopalian; hobbies, photography, amateur radio, stamp collecting; sports, tennis, bowling, and swimming. Mr. Ernest G. Blankenburg REFERENCES Central Business Institute St. Louis, Missouri
Mr. H. L. Judson, Personnel Manager
Continental Engineering Company 3926 Seventh Avenue Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Mr. H. C. Williams, Chief Engineer American Food Corporation 2241 Euclid Avenue St. Louis, Missouri
THE APPLICATION LETTER
THINGS TO AVOID IN THE CAMPAIGN FOR A JOB
Because of inexperience or ignorance of the job-seeking technique, writers frequently do their cause more harm than
good by the appeals
lowing list avoid such
that they make in their letters. The folof "don'ts" for application letters should help you
sympathy. Even if a position is and that rarely happensthe conditions of employment will probably be highly unsatisfactory since the employer will always feel that he is doing the applicant a favor by granting employment. Don't say, "I need this job very badly because I must support my family"; try to get the position because you can be useful, not because you are to be pitied.
to the employer's obtained by such a method
discuss salary in the application letter; leave that to interview. Advertisements often use the unfair technique the
of demanding that the applicant "state the salary desired";
it is better to suggest that salary be discussed in the interview, unless you are willing to be hired as a bargain because you will work for less than any of the other
even in that event,
afraid to use the
Since the letter is personal, "I" will be used rather more frethan in other kinds of letters; don't try to avoid it by
or similar circumlocuusing "the writer," "the undersigned," tions. What should be avoided is a conceited and aggressive
air in the letter; a quiet is the ideal.
tone of confidence in one's
with your present position. If a change is desirable because no chance of advancement is offered, that is a legitimate reason which will be borne out by references. But personal dislikes or grievances should not be
EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS
put into writing; if necessary, they can be explained in the interview. Employers are afraid of "the drifter" who goes
from one job to another because of imagined grievances;
therefore, expressions of discontent are to be avoided for they may stamp the applicant, whether rightly or wrongly, as "a
express a lot of opinions in the application letter; par-
ticularly avoid expressing opinions about yourself.
of the applicant's career should speak for themselves in the letter; let the references give the opinions.
DON'T waste time
he already knows.
many things best part of the application letter is
realize the value of a
wasted when the applicant begins with such statements
Because you are an advertising man, you certainly
broad background of education.
the principles of correct English
You must know,
too, that a
invaluable in writing copy.
spects your are suited.
for applying for work. Every employer rehonest attempt to find the position for which you
apology is expected, and none should be made weakens the whole letter.
ONE LETTER MORE
Let us suppose that the job seeker is in that blissful state of having worked long and well over his letter and personal record and that his labors have had their reward in an interview. Is there anything he can do but sit and wait? If he wants the satisfaction of knowing that he has done everything possible in his job-seeking campaign, he will write one more lettercalled the follow-up letter. This is a very brief note of perhaps two or three sentences to be mailed to the prospective
employer the day
after the interview. It thanks
courtesy in granting the interview, it may refer to something that was said in the interview a good device for recalling the
Previous experience not as essential. Young man with to personnel college or business school education. Dear Mr. newspapers. Moore: appreciate your kindness in granting me an interview yesterday. Exceptional opportunity for Y 34 Herald-Tribune. versatile. Recent graduates between ages of 20 and 25 to represent large utility company in its negotiations with customers. Sincerely yours. and trade journals: i. as assistant in manager to assist ing and employment program right person.THE APPLICATION LETTER 211 applicant to the employer's mind and it expresses the hope that the qualifications of the job seeker will receive favorable consideration. Publicity man or woman. planning and carrying out train- for large department store. it well worth doing and the applicant can end his follow-up letter with the inward satisfaction that he has utilized the best technique of trying to get the position he wants. Retail experience desirable but not essential. . Good starting sal- c. Your explanation of the problems faced by the automotive industry was very helpful to me. by actual test. EXERCISES Write an application letter and personal record which you might use answer to one of the following advertisements from recent issues of magazines. As such. able to write and make newspaper contacts in handling public relations for rapidly growing technical institute. my in- Why write such a letter? About 90 per cent that it is Isn't the tedious process of compiling personal record sheets and of writing the application enough? of the applicants. b. in a. this last step will The 10 per cent who go on to have given an extra demonstration of their interest in is doing everything possible to get the job. aB good personality and ability to write. X 79134 Times. I hope that my past experience may entitle me to favorable I consideration because the problems which you mentioned aroused terest and I should like to aid in solving them. will think and will stop there.
EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS
ary; ideal working conditions
vacation with pay,
Box 4932, Boston, Mass.
large volume of
years of education above high school.
starting salary but opfor rapid advancement for the right man. TR 91 Heraldportunity Tribune.
Opportunity for young business school or college men in sales with leading plastic manufacturer. Excellent future and earning possibilities for
complete our training program. Write, stating
education, experience, and salary required. P.O. Philadelphia, Pa.
College students to supervise swimming, dramatics, crafts at boys' camp in Berkshires during summer vacation; $100 a month and
maintenance for July and August. Write Director, Berkshire Boys' Camp, Great Barrington, Mass.
Junior executive for mining company located in Bolivia. Single.
Three-year contract. Salary $2,700 a year; transportation paid. Will consider recent graduate in engineering or business administration. Spanish an asset. 79421.
Secretary to vice-president; college or business school graduate
with pleasing personality. Splendid opportunity for women with initiative. Reply by typewritten letter to John Smithson and Bros.,
86 Liberty Street. Attention college graduates in Psychology Position open as a staff aide in a psychiatric institution in the East. Low starting salary,
but to those interested in applied psychology, this position gives experience that cannot be duplicated. Ideal experience for future
teachers of psychology or anyone going into industrial testing
work. Apply giving
Secretary to author.
7956, this magazine. college or business school graduate,
experience desired; I prefer to train Interesting work, chance to travel some research experi;
ence desirable. Write giving of Literature.
in a certain
Mr. John Devine, a friend of your father, has told you that a position department of the Novelty Manufacturing Company will soon be available. Mr. Devine is the sales manager for this company and be-
THE APPLICATION LETTER
you are qualified for the position. Write a letter to Personnel Manager, applying for the position. Anders,
3. For your term paper in a course in Business Organization, you made a survey of the methods, markets, and future possibilities of six of America's largest food-marketing organizations. You have decided to attempt to obtain employment with one of these companies following your graduation
next month. Write a letter of application which could be sent to
4. During your school career, you have taken business and language courses to prepare you for a position as the South American representative of a large manufacturing company. Last summer you worked on the assembly line of this company to familiarize yourself as much as possible with
methods and products. Write to Mr. John H. Sheeley, Personnel Manager, applying for a position in the foreign sales department following your graduation in two months.
5. Yesterday you had an interview with Mr. E. J. Conroy, Assistant to the Personnel Director, Standard Products Company. The future possibilities of the company, as Mr. Conroy outlined them to you, seemed very
and you are most interested in obtaining employment with company. Write an appropriate follow-up letter to Mr. Conroy.
either of the following advertisements: Secretary wanted for vice-president of advertising agency. Must be able to take dictation rapidly and accurately; possess good person-
and the ability to get along well with other people. Good salReply to P.O. Box 37194, New York, N. Y. Intelligent young men and women wanted for sales training course by one of America's largest department stores. Thirty-six weeks'
training course leads to executive positions in our various departments. Apply by letter to Mr. C. L. Tracey, March Brothers Store,
are very anxious to find
nearest branch office of this
employment with company
650 miles from your home. Write your application to the central
California with the object of being interviewed in the
New York office.
changes would you suggest in the following letter?
EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS
much to have you consider me for a position in your adverdepartment which a friend of mine who works for your company has told me will be available next month.
should like very
I have not had much experience in advertising, I have taken such courses in college as would best prepare me to do work along these lines. My major in college was English and I have also taken a lot of psychology, which
some people think should be
I realize that advertising
college papers as very valuable, the writer has spent three years
such as you do not regard work on on the busi-
ness staff of our paper and was elected business details of my record are enclosed.
in the senior year.
hope to hear from you company.
an opening with your
Criticize these opening paragraphs from application letters: You state in your ad in this morning's Herald-Tribune that
a salesman familiar with electrical appliances. am the man youVe been looking for.
you need Without question, I
I regret taking up your time this way because I know that you are a very busy man. The fact is that I need work badly, and I've been
hoping that you might help me. As a personnel man, you certainly know how hard it is to find good sales correspondents. You must have learned that years are required to develop an employee who can write letters which bring results. That's why I want you to look over my qualifications.
you happen to be adding any new men to your college training group, I would appreciate it greatly if you would be so kind as to
saw your advertisement for a young business school graduate in this morning's News, and, as I read it, I realized that I had many of the qualifications you want. And so I am making this application
for the position.
10. What changes would you recommend in these closing paragraphs from application letters? a. I must apologize for having taken so much of your time with this letter, but you probably know how difficult it is for inexperienced
THE APPLICATION LETTER
to get started in business. And, of course, the only for us to get started is by writing letters. I hope you will write and tell me to come in to see you.
to talk to
After looking over my qualifications, I am sure that you will want me. I can come in any time you say. Thanking you in
advance for the interview, I am If you are hiring new men now, I do hope you will let me talk to you. Or if you don't need anyone now, would you please keep my letter on file in the event that you may need someone in the future?
letter, I've outlined the
a chance to talk with you, I can tell
need work so badly. you about
these reasons in greater detail. May I have an interview? in advance for the consideration that you have given in reading this letter, the writer hopes to hear from you soon.
form of the following
the opening and closing paragraphs perform their tasks well? If you were the advertiser, which qualifications mentioned in Miss Smith's letter would interest you
tively does the writer take the employer's viewpoint?
most? Rewrite the
any errors and using the you
Box 2Z 3719 The New York Herald-Tribune
York, N. Y.
was reading the advertisements in this morning's Herald-Tribune and to see your ad. for a secretary.
a high school graduate with one year of business school
and two years
of experience as secretary to the sales manager of the poration, manufacturer of children's toys.
Brown Novelty Cor-
hope you will consider my qualifications which I am giving in some detail on the enclosed personal record sheet, because I dislike my present position and I want very much to work in New York City.
In the event that you are interested,
hope to hear from you.
EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS
You have been offered positions in two different companies A and and have finally made up your mind to accept the offer of Company A, because it gives you the opportunity to take a special six-months training course. Yet there is a possibility that some time in the future you may wish
employment with Company B, which
Write a tactful
engaged in the same general
line of business.
you have read a news story about the expansion of accompany with which you wish to be employed. According to the story, Mr. Eli O. Summerton, Personnel Manager, was quoted as saying, "We shall need about 25 more members for our sales, engineering, and executive staff and about 50 secretarial and clerical workers." Two years ago, you discussed employment with Mr. Summerton, but at that time his company was adding no new people. Write an appropriate letter of appli13.
14. Two months ago you had an interview with Mr. J. C. Day of the General Supply Company. He outlined a position which seemed very attractive in both salary and future possibilities but said that it would be at least six weeks before he could give a definite answer. You now have an-
other offer to which you must give an answer in 10 days. You would prefer the position with the General Supply Company, but if that does not materialize, you want Mr. Day.
to accept the other offer.
Write an appropriate
15. Criticize the following letters:
Dear Mr. West:
your office during our interview yesterday, I certainly what a busy man you are. It seemed to me that the whole organization revolved around you because so many people were waiting to see you and your telephone rang so often.
I sat in
I hope you will give favorable consideration to apfor a position as your secretary because I thrive on hard plication work, and I like to be where there are lots of people and plenty of
May I have an interview? Sincerely yours. d. like to would I am 24 years old. Hamilton I : be considered for the position you advertised in today's Post-Dispatch. Hayden: You'll probably be needing some assistance during the summer months because I know a lot of your employees go on vacation in July and August. clerk with the two years. 217 Dear Mr. I write to you. Meeting people is my forte. I was president of the Now. My major interest was in dramatics and Thespian Society. Charles Byrnes in your company suggested that and I hope that you will let me hear from you soon. served three years in the army. Dear Mr. type. I had three short stories published in national magazines while I was an undergraduate. I can file.THE APPLICA TION LETTER b. Dear Mr. Very r. and now I'm very much interested in getting practical office experience. Louis because invalid sister who lives there. and I have them. I'm cause : interested in working for your advertising agency be- I like to write. I Ellis: think you'll agree that I'm unusual because: I completed a four-year college course in three years. worked as a for I Johnson Company in New York now I'm anxious to return to St. truly yours. the details on the enclosed Personal Record. Mr. and must support an . and I have had a I little experience in operating a switchboard. I know that you can use original You'll find all ideas. take dictation. have had two years of commercial training at James Madison High School.
and Williams Mfg. you wish to establish as many contacts as possible with personnel men representing various busi- . so I willing to accept a big sacrifice in salary to settle in the South- west. Company Two and a half years with my present employer. White. Write a letter to the dean of the graduate school at a university of choice applying for a fellowship in a field of study in which you have your 16. Barrett: Let's look at my record ! Five years of successful sales during the depression Three years as manager of The Johnston. me and hoping to hear from you Yours very truly. M. Garland. Rev. M. 17. know vention next month. e. Johnson First Baptist Church Doctor C. These positions are all explained on the attached personal record sheet. The fact of the matter is that I must leave my am I son's health.2i8 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS My references are as follows: J. you will notice that I have given every one of my previous employers as references because they will all vouch for me. Freedman (My family doctor) Thanking you for considering soon. Principle Public School 46 Mr. I don't want to be separated New York because of from my family. that you will probably be coming to the annual sales conMay I see you then? Sincerely yours. majored as an undergraduate. I am. Dear Mr. As manager of your school's placement service.
. 8.THE APPLICATION LETTER nesses and industries in your area. and the use of the follow-up letter. Arrange to have three of your classmates interview personnel managers to get specific suggestions on what they look for in letters of application. you are 1 ' to arrange a discussion of "The Function of the Letter in Getting a Job. As a class project. In three ate a class of 157. how to conduct an interview. 1 219 will gradu- months your school Write an appropriate letter.
i. 50 51 letters to readers. 193-195 follow-up letter. in the business letter. 50 correct use of. Attached please Attention of. 4-6 capitalization in. 29-30 Appeals to human interest. use of. 26 of. for letter writer. 10 theory of. 191-192 Capitalization. structure of. 139-140 find. 35 Attitude. 30-31 definition of. 191-192 in. 6-8 in application letter. 129-132 88-90. Cleveland basic Plain Dealer. 50 At hand. 3 promotion letter. Cobbledick. 31 As per. 195-202 30-31 Children. 50 At your earliest convenience. form of. 152-154 Colon. 190-191 humor in. 23- Close. 98-107 refusal of. 50 methods of correcting. 154-158 Collection series. granting letter of. 100-102 Advise. 189-190 similarity to sales letter. 50-53 Address. 6-8 Attitude. Gordon. 26 capitalization of. 102-107 of. process of. 40-53 Business letters. 50 "goozling. 26-29 close. you. 51 structure of. 3 Analysis. 53 190-191 "you attitude" Arrangement of 24 Claim letter. 188 self-analysis in. 1-2 common Collection letter. correct. 26 Comma. 31 Complimentary capitalization Awaiting your favor. 1-2 expressions to avoid. Claim. 50 At an early date. 17-18 Business diction. 9-10 Block form. 171-172 Application letters.Index H Acknowledge Adapting receipt of. advice to students on. 94-98 letter on page. 51 use of. z (See also Business jargon) Business jargon. 210-211 Business need for thought in. use of. 12 Apostrophe. letters to. 33 Adjustment. correct. 140-152 timing of. . complimentary." 1-2 Along these lines. 192-193 importance of. analysis of.
in collection letter. 62. 74-76 unsolicited. tone of. 124-129 relation to collection. 9 Favor. 33 Dealers. 110-211 follow-up. 76-80 letter. acknowledging applications you. 23 (See also Business jargon) Grammar. 3 Inside address. 48-49 Credit. indented form. 51 Final paragraph. Date. 19. 65-67 Follow-up letter. 23 118-119 granting of. 52 /// the amount of. 22 D The Dartnell Corporation. 22-23 . 24 Letters. Cost of letters. y 52 E Each and every. u styles in writing. 9-10 21. in letters. 25 exercises in. 51 Hanging-indention form. 51 21. 137-138 Improvement. 9 Definition of business 36 Inquiry." i. placing of. 154-158 I refusal of. answer to. 36 personality in. 52 Indented form. 81-82 solicited. 122-124 letters giving information on. 24- L Letterhead. 10 F Facts. 120121 Humor. 119- In receipt of. Hoping. 36-37 Even date. 26 51 j Job. 1-2 Initials of dictator and stenographer. letters to. getting the. 17-23 2 block form. 115-1 17 H Hand for. need 1-2 for. 2 1 0-2 1 1 need for improvement paging of. 19. in letters. requesting 120 information for. 36 paragraphing in. 66-67 20. find. 17-18 hanging-indention form. adapting to reader. 48-49 to dealers. correct. 51 arrangement on page. 173 cost of. 1-2 G "Goozling. in. 51 209-210 good use of. 33 Inst. 188-190 things to avoid in. in sales letters. 9-10 Envelopes. 36 English. 22 serniblock form. 23-24 to children.222 EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS 51 Contents duly noted. Enclosed please Enclosures. 41-43 participial expressions.
capitalization of. avoiding. 176-178 174-176 O Orders. the. expert. 53 . 173 in sales letters. 166-169 basic structure of. 52 of complimentary close.INDEX Letters. Personal record sheet. 25 list Paragraphing the the 59-67 of words. 25 exercise in. 52 in advance. 63-65 State.. Salutation. Punctuation. Franklin Undersigned. answers to. the. 44-46 body of. 51 I///. 172-174 in. 68 for. 66-67 Permit me to say. 26 correct. 67-68 Writer. closed. 173-174 Logic in sales letters. 30 correct. Prox. correct. 37 1). U 52 Revising. 52 Semiblock form. 65-67 letter. 26 Same. 26 Tone of letters. women. 40-41 Thank you Thanking. 202-208 Personality in letters. 31-33 Spelling. 52 1 1 193-195 Styles in letter writing. 9-10 R Recent need date. 6 T Testimony. first. 17-23 Psychology in letters. Women. 59-63 Signature.. to 223 in.. 26 51 Thanking you open. 47-48 52 Roosevelt. 9 Sales letters. use of. letters to. Under separate cover. 26 of salutation. in getting a job. 22-23 Semicolon. advice to. as advertising W medium. 165-166 Wordiness. 34-35 87-88 punctuation of. 173-174 motivating action series of. creating desire facts in. 62. Paging the letter. 53 Participles. 52 conviction in. 24 Students. again. 29 final. 190-191 Yours. 36 Paragraph. logic in. You attitude. 20. 52 Stationery. 6-8 expert testimony 173 in application letter. 53 S Sales letters. 9 163-165 attracting attention in. 173 170-172 in.
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